"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Monday, August 22, 2016

More Than Anything

I saw him come around the corner, Pastor leading the way. That is all it took for months of emotion to unleash - my shoulders shaking, tears running down my face. He looked more handsome than I had ever anticipated. He looked measured and controlled, but knowing him as well as I do, I knew almost every sentiment he was most likely really feeling.

It was probably the first time I had ever seen Pastor in a suit. Our church is casual, unencumbered with dress codes or certain expectations. Part of my tears, in part, had to do with this man. This is the pastor my son had been raised hearing and learning. I had deep respect for him, as well as everything that he had taught my son over his formative years. Pastor taught Bible and only Bible, but he led a life that revealed the deep study he shared with such passion. This was a man worth following.

It was our only son's wedding day. A day his father and I had long anticipated. We had always wanted this moment for him, and we had hoped it would be shared with a woman just exactly like the one who was about to walk down the aisle to meet him at God's altar of love and honor.

I watched as the two men took their places. Grandparents and parents had already been ushered to our seats. Matt looked my way and saw my (fairly) controlled shaking and the tears rolling down my face. I could see in his expression (as he smiled just a bit at me) that he had to check his own tears. I wondered if the two of us would hold it together. In the seconds that we waited, we exchanged more than one earnest look at each other. I think we were both concerned how the other one was doing.

Then the music began. The bride was about to make her entrance. I had told myself, I would keep  my eyes on Matt at least initially because I had wanted to see the look on his face when for the first time he laid eyes on the woman God had so perfectly chosen for him. But I quickly forgot my intentions and instead stood with the others and turned to view the radiance of Kaytee and her dad as they turned the corner to walk through the first arbor on the way down the aisle. I then remembered my plan to watch Matt and turned back to see his eyes well with tears. I knew Kaytee and her dad saw it too. In a role reversal I had expected, the groom was on the verge of tears as the bride smiled deep from within exuding strong confidence and pride on her face. She loved this man and he loved her; and I suspect the way it will forever be expressed throughout their union, will be exactly as it was in this moment. :-)

We are an emotional family. We just are. And there had been a few moments like this for me as the day traveled through the minutes and hours. It had started early that morning, when I had arrived to help with set up for the wedding. A woman came over (truly sent by God) and introduced herself. I believe she was sent simply to say the words and express the sentiment that I needed to hear. She had four sons of her own, she had told me. And I gushed as I heard the words of wisdom that she shared. Right now, I don't even remember what they were. I just know I needed to hear them in that moment.

The next moment where I lost control was every bit as unexpected. The work was done, the bridal party dressed, everything was in its place and the guests had started to arrive. I had spotted my old boss and went over to say hello. I don't really remember what all transpired. I believe I was introducing him to someone, and all of a sudden the tears burst forth in torrents. He had recently lost his wife and I knew he was still mourning that loss. These two had graciously allowed me to bring Matthew to work as a baby, so that I didn't have to quit my job. She had rocked my baby to sleep many times as I worked away in the back room. These two had been with me through rough, single years, paying me a wage to meet what I had made prior so that I might stay at this job. They were with me, when I married my husband; and when we had a scare over Matthew's health when he was first born. They had watched him grow; let me work for them again as I homeschooled Matt, even allowing him to bring his studies to my job. More than any other friend, this man had been through it all with me. I let the tears gush like a fool, and tried to tell him "thank you" for once again being with me in this very special moment.

As other guests arrived, I was truly touched by each one that took the time to come and share in our joy. I greeted two couples that Matt had worked for from the time he was 12 years old. I greeted friends that came 300 miles just to spend this day with us. My good friend was there who is the mother of Matt's very first friend - meeting each other in Sunday School when they were just 3 years old.  And our good neighbors, who I have grown to love deeply, were there with their new-born baby and toddler, who has recently started to call me "Grandma Jan".

I simply want to remember every special moment that happened. I want to remember every act of love; every second of joy...I want to write it down to ensure I will never ever forget, so below are a few of those moments.

After we finished setting up, and the time drew near to get ourselves ready for the wedding, I quietly snuck off to another bathroom that I was pretty certain would not be in use by the wedding party or anyone else for that matter. I needed time to myself and I wanted to be alone as I got ready. So off I went. No one saw me. And I readied and steadied myself as I paused to breathe in every memory that brought us here to this point in time. When I felt ready, I left the bathroom, and entered the hall. There sat my son waiting and reflecting as well, I suspect. I was grateful for the moment alone - just the two of us. It was short-lived as a groomsman soon joined us. But as we stood there, Matthew reached for the tie on my dress..."Mom, this should be a bow, not a knot." And he gently and capably tied the laces at the waste of my dress. I didn't tell him about the struggle I had had with it in the bathroom, finally just opting for the knot.  'Thank you, son," were the only words I could articulate. He had made it look far better...just like he makes everything.

Pastor had just pronounced the two "Mr. and Mrs." and they would almost be on their way, BUT....

I laughed right out loud at the bridesmaids as they yelled "STOP" when Pastor told the groom he could now kiss the bride. I knew this was in the plan and was sworn to secrecy about it. The young women yelled in perfect unison as they held their hands in the "STOP" motion. One of the girls picked up a small stool, and they each passed it one to the other ending with the maid of honor who then placed it on the ground in front of Matthew enabling Kaytee to stand on it with a better reach to kiss him. I knew he was surprised, I will have to remember to ask whether Pastor had been let in on that little antic. I can't imagine what Matthew and the audience must have thought. But it certainly got a good laugh when completed.

When the kiss was over, Kaytee literally skipped down the aisle to an upbeat song they specifically had chosen together. They were now one, but not quite in unison (just yet) with that skip in her step. ;-) Pretty sure she will never get Matt to skip down any aisle. lol

The reception was beautiful, but I struggled with it as I worried about the comfort of my elderly parents. I missed more than a few things I wanted to see, and probably some visiting, due to taking the time to position my folks where they would be most comfortable and also be able to participate in the activities that were taking place. I am not sure they ever did get cake. I finally got some after my oldest sister took my folks home. We were in clean up mode, and I decided I had better grab one of these cupcakes that I had heard so much about, before the little cakes were once and for all whisked away. YES! They were every bit as good as I had heard!

Of course one of the highlights for me was the scheduled music and dance. And if I had any complaints about the wedding it would be this...it took forever to finally get to the music portion of the event. People were starting to leave! But there had been photos after the ceremony, to honor my son's request that he not see the bride before she walked down the aisle. I was extremely happy that request was honored! Then of course the bride and groom needed to grab a bite before cutting the cake. Once the cake was cut, (which I missed) a reception line randomly started as many gathered to offer congratulations to the couple. I don't think that was planned, but it warmed my heart to see that it had just naturally took place. Guests genuinely wanted to offer sincere congratulations.

I then moved my folks outside again, feeling it was probably getting time for the long anticipated  dance. This had been planned in my mind (at least) since Matthew was about two years old. I had long dreamed of the "Mother/Son Dance" with Matthew at his wedding. Matthew and I had discussed 3 or 4 songs that we both liked and thought could work. When just a few days before the wedding we finally got a chance to dance to each, we settled on My Wish by Rascal Flatts. We both loved the words, and I believe it was Matthew's first choice, so I was extremely happy about that. I am not a good dancer and we only ran through it once on that day. I didn't know how I would do on wedding day, but when the time came, Matthew held and guided me strongly. I knew he had learned well what I had told him as a teenager, "You can dance with almost anyone if you are a strong lead."

"I might be the exception to that rule," I had told him, but we got through it.

"Mom, you are shaking," he said as we danced.

"I know", I laughed. "I am nervous," I whispered to him. But then I just continued to sing the words to him as I wanted him to know I felt every word of this song we had chosen to dance to. And how that looked, I couldn't have cared less. This was our moment.

It was every bit as wonderful as I had always dreamed and I know I smiled all the way through it. He hugged me when it was over. It was all I wanted from his wedding. Such a silly thing, but so very important to me.

And of course the "Father/Daughter Dance was lovely with a song chosen by the bride and her dad.

And then came the dance for the bride and groom. My sister and brother-in-law had been asked to sing for this one. They had chosen the perfect song. Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Bird. It had even brought tears to my husband's eyes when he had heard it performed in practice. "That song is perfect for the two of them", my husband kept saying. And it was.

After the shoe game and a couple more dances, I saw Matthew motion to his dad and me.. I couldn't quite get what he was saying. He then came over and said he had told the MC to play a song for us and we had to dance. It was I Can't Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis Presley.  This song had been sung at our wedding and Matthew had remembered that and made sure it was played for us on his wedding day. That is just the way my boy does things. And I could not be more proud.

I know there will be more things I remember, but I also know this is getting really long. Time to wind it up with just one more special moment.

Each time someone came over to tell me good-bye and that they were leaving, my response was "NO please don't go." I honestly didn't want anyone to leave. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to feel their presence just a bit longer. I can't ever remember a time that I wanted people to stay as badly as I did on this day. When things were over, and there were several people staying to clean up, I found myself in conversation again with my newest, best friend from the morning. The one who had four sons and had given me such sound advice.

"Well you did it, Mom!" she had exclaimed.  "He's married. And I saw him looking at you the whole time when he first got up front with the pastor. You obviously have a special relationship," she commented, once again warming my heart. My niece was standing there too, and heard her words.

" I saw it too," my niece told me. "It was very special to see him look at you like that."

Just then my other niece came over to say good-bye.

"NO! Please don't go!" I said from the deepest part of my being, without any thought from my head or intellect. As I said it, I once again burst into tears. My niece was flabbergasted and burst out laughing. And then we all did! I laughed through my tears.

I simply didn't want it to end. The people that showed up to bless my son's special day meant everything to me. But I don't know. I think it had to be more than that. I was just so happy for him. And I am happy for us, to be gaining a daughter. Our family is growing. Changes are occurring. Time is passing. Life is moving forward. I do not do well with change. I guess even if it is positive change.

Now, what was it my new friend told me? "You were his first love. He looked to you, first."

From the deepest part of my being I just want to yell: "NO. son! Please don't go!" Those are the emotions that get all mixed up. People told me I would have both feelings to deal with and they were right. I love gaining a daughter, but fear losing a son.

But I have to remember:  Two are better than one. For when one falls the other will be there to lift the other up. Now I know that is not usually in reference to marriage. But in my case, I have always thought of those words for my son in regard to marriage. Many that know me will remember that. I just never, ever want him to be alone. He doesn't like it and never has. As he was an only child, I have only wanted love to surround him in many ways - from family, friends, brotherhood - and I want them to never go. It is not good for man to be alone.

I will get the emotions in check. The truth is, I am extremely happy for my son. It is what he always wanted...and I mean always!

And more than anything, more than anything my wish is he always knows someone loves him and wants the same thing too...and that he is forever loved.

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish. Yeah, yeah.

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish (my wish, for you).

This is my wish (my wish, for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you (my wish, for you).
May all your dreams stay big (my wish, for you)

Written by Steve Robson, Jeffrey Steele • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group







  1. We couldn't stay for the reception, but the ceremony was simply beautiful. We wondered if that was your pastor or Kaytee's. He did such a great job. Loved reading your thoughts!

  2. Oh thank you, Karla!! I am still up in the air! Everything was so beautiful!! Thank you so much for coming!! Good thing I didn't see you after the wedding, I would have begged you to stay. lol I missed the girls!!