Guest Writer: Lisa Waddell

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The Wedding Vortex and Serious Thinking

If you have been anywhere in the proximity of the Colleys lately, you’ve  noticed that we are in what Caleb, my son, who is home for his summer break, refers to as “the wedding vortex.”  He, almost correctly, assumes that anything I am typing, cooking, gluing, painting, sewing, cleaning, polishing, loading, unloading or paying for (especially the paying part) is on account of the wedding. When the phone rings, he says, before he even checks the caller ID, “It’s for you, mom. It’s about the wedding.” We already know that next Saturday it will feel strange to wake up and not feel the urgency to do something to prepare for it.  That’s right. Next Saturday the wedding will be history and I will be having a head examination for not insisting on an elopement!  What were her dad and I thinking?!

Seriously, what we are thinking is…well, we’re thinking…seriously. Nothing will ever be the same in our world. She will never truly come home and be ours again. She really will go away with a man…Ben, and, when she comes back, she will not be sleeping in that little twin cherry rope bed that her dad built her for Christmas when she was two. That’s the reason for the gnawing feeling that has its way of edging into every conversation about the wedding.  It’s just that, like Anne of Green Gables, Jo of Little Women, and, more recently, Woody from Toy Story, we are wistful, sentimental and  a little sad about change.

So, my friend and fellow elder’s wife, Lisa Waddell, wrote me this letter last week. It’s from her heart. It’s real and it will give you an important perspective on life’s changes. Many thanks to Lisa for words I needed to hear and heed. Four more days!

Ok my friend…since we cannot get together for therapy before the wedding, I hope you will indulge me a few minutes to pass along something that happened to me that literally changed me…
It started almost 12 years ago when Cory was a senior in High School. Like you, monumental occasions in my children’s lives have always been very special to me…lots of emotion was always expected from  mom. Three days into Cory’s senior year one of his classmates and a very dear girl to this family was in a car accident that ultimately took her life. It was such a very, very difficult time for the school and that senior class that had been together for so many years. Cory was one of her pallbearers…they had been friends since cradle roll class at church.
Fast forward now to graduation: I was a basket case!!! Could not quit crying about how my family was changing and literally grieving over how my firstborn was graduating and going off to college. It was not a happy time for me. I remember walking into the gym that night for graduation, not doing very well emotionally, and upon entering the gym seeing that empty chair with a large pink ribbon on it. It hit me like a ton of bricks! I was upset and crying that my child was growing up, starting a new chapter in his life and starting to go into to the world to put into practice the things that his dad and I had tried to instill in him.  But, here in front of me was an empty chair and off to the side a set of parents who would give anything to have Kimberly there to do exactly what I was upset over. I am serious when I say it hit me like a two by four in the face! Not one more tear came out of me that night. My sister-in-law even commented afterwards that she “was really surprised” at how well I did and that I did not cry at all.
Cindy, all I can tell you is that it really changed the way that I have viewed all the “life changing” events of my children’s lives. Graduations became different. Weddings became different. Jobs taking them half way across the country became different. I keep in mind that this is part of why I was blessed to have had them given to me. It is my job and privilege to have had them given to me, by God, to help prepare them for this life and all the changes and challenges that it has to offer and so I proudly watch as the cycle continues and they move on to all the things that God has planned for them.
I am thankful that Cory, Lincoln and Melissa have all graduated…married….taken jobs away from me (well, except Melissa). When I think of Ray and Carolyn and what they no longer have with Kimberly, I will gladly watch as my children grow, learn and move on to their lives out from under the wings of home. And yes… while it means that MY life changes and will not be the same as what I have treasured for so many years, I thank God that my children have grown and moved on to start their own lives and that I was so blessed to be able to have been given the responsibility of raising, training and teaching those precious souls. MY life has been forever changed because of the blessing of…them. You know, the things I feared for so long about how my life would never be the same?…I do promise you, life just gets better through the years! I promise.
When I look at the children with whom God has entrusted you and Glenn to train and raise…I see wonderful children and parents who have given it their all to raise them as God planned. I have no doubt that the best for your family (different as it may be) is waiting for you around the corner!
I am in no way saying that these monumental times in your childrens’ lives should not stir up emotions. You would not be a mom if they didn’t. I am just trying to encourage you to look at this as a new birth in your family and not that you are losing something. You are about to get an amazing new son!!!
I can’t wait to see all the new, exciting times and adventures that are going to come to the Colley family!
This week and next will be a whirlwind for you all. Bask in all that being the “mother of the bride” brings and watch with pride as your daughter joins her life with such a wonderful young man as Ben.
You will do great. I have no doubt. 

With much love and prayers for you,

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