“I love you, mom.”
(A little louder) “I love you, mom.”
“I love you too, honey, so very much.”
I’d been deep in thought, listening to the song we were slowly dancing to.
(The photo above is he with his new wife, September 14, 2019. Our mother/son dance was immediately prior.)
I knew this moment of ours was supposed to be the time to say all the things, but this boy and I had already said all the things, so the lyrics to the melody played in our ears:
Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind
As we moved from side to side, I felt in a dream, and took in everything my senses could hold: the supportive, joyful faces looking on; the army of twinkling lights decorated throughout – reflected in the antique mirrors on the opposite wall; the warmth of his strong arms as we held each other.
Humble and kind.
Two simple words to describe that one, our firstborn, and just as fitting to describe his bride.
I recall Spring Break of 2017. We traveled down to warmer weather, and spent time with Brett, who, at the time, was living and working in Orlando.
He had recently been out with Abby, another student he knew in college when they were part of the same circle.
She had visited Florida, also, and messaged him, just two friends reconnecting, and they went out to eat together before she headed back to the midwest.
When he and I sat on the beach in St. Petersburg about a week afterwards, I asked him to tell me all about their time.
He lit up, told me a bit, and then said, “I don’t know, I just have a really good feeling.”
Because of his words, I did too.
When we met Abby that summer, I immediately saw the qualities that Brett had used to describe her: kind, thoughtful, playful, smart, beautiful.
Brett fell for her fast, and so did we.
In celebration of their first wedding anniversary today, I’d like to tell you a few things about his girl.
Brett’s gut instinct was right.
Our daughter-in-law, Abby, gives us all good feelings, because she’s funny, sincere, creative, empathetic, hard-working, faith-filled, and full of love.
She has a special tenderness for dogs of every type, and she gives the best hugs!
Unfortunately, she and I have experienced similar past heartache.
Like myself, Abby lost a parent to cancer at the time of her high school graduation.
We talked often about those profound losses in the early days of getting to know one another.
Abby’s grief was close to the surface, as it’d been six years since her mom passed away at the time we met.
With over three decades out from losing my dad, I could express to her that the pain lessened a little more each year, although, never completely.
I suspect Abby was an old soul even before her mom went to heaven, but that event, and her awareness that life is fragile and precious, makes her even more so today.
She’s the perfect match for Brett: the match we’ve prayed for since he was little.
As hard as it is watching our children grow up and leave the nest, there’s nothing better than seeing them start their own family, by marrying the one God had planned for them since the beginning of time.
The night of the wedding, when Brett and I were finishing our dance, the end verses struck me.
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Alway stay humble and kind
For many long years, to get where I was going, was to plead with God to give Craig and I strength and wisdom to raise our kids up right.
Now that they’re all but grown, I don’t take one second of it for granted, and I think of the generations that have gone ahead of us: their words of encouragement, their silent and spoken prayers, their admonitions and stories, their smiles and reassurances; extended from those who walked before and then alongside, getting us to this place.
Brett and Abby, I wish you a wonderful and Happy Anniversary. May your lives continue to spill over with travel, passion, laughter, fun, friends, and crazy canine adventures!
Dad and I will assist, pray for you, tell stories and jokes, and be there – please God be willing – in any way you want or need, in the years to come.
With a heart of gratitude, I thank the Lord for the blessing you both are, and for every single treasured, unique member that makes the love in our family vast and abundant.
It’s our time now, Craig’s and mine, in this next season of life, to turn back around and help the next ones in line.
It’s a privilege, honor, and undeniable gift.
So are the riches of having five humble and kind young adults that make me drop to my knees in gratitude . . . I’m a wealthy woman indeed.
Proverbs 22 : 4 The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
Micah 6 : 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.