Niece Maria got married today.
She was so beautiful, so happy.
And Carey was so proud, so quietly joyful.
I took all of one picture, and this is it!
And I cried so much that Certain Man whispered to me, “For pity sakes, you’ve cried more here than you did at Lem’s wedding. Whatever are you going to do next week (at Raph’s Wedding)?” He was right, of course. But probably I was crying the tears I didn’t cry at Lem’s wedding. Sometimes it just takes a while for the hearts to catch up when the hands and head are working overtime
And I was also teary because of something that happened just before I left home for the wedding.
This was our last morning together as a family before Raph left for Ohio to help get ready for his and Regina’s wedding. Lem and Jess are also leaving for Ohio on Monday so that Jessica can start her new job and they can get settled into their apartment before college starts for Lem. We had talked of going out for breakfast as a family, but I got the impulse to make biscuits and sausage gravy and pancakes and tomato gravy (with peanut butter and maple syrup for those who loathe tomato gravy). So I got up and got my ladies up and showered and dressed and fed, did some loads of laundry for this Eldest Son who was packing for his honeymoon in addition to the week ahead, and made breakfast for my crew.
It really was a sweet time, and we talked and laughed, and made plans for the week ahead. When breakfast was over, Christina and Jesse returned to a Bontrager Cousins Reunion that is in progress this weekend, Lem and Jessica went home to their house to continue packing for their move to Ohio and to get ready for Maria and Carey’s wedding. The girls and I scrambled to clean up the kitchen, Daniel went to do some mowing and Raph went back to his packing. The time for us to leave for the wedding crept closer and closer, and the siblings started their good-byes to Raph who was leaving for Ohio after we left for the wedding.
I am married to a “hugger,” and our boys are very much like their daddy when it comes to being free with the hugs. Often when they are telling me “good-bye” I find myself squished against their chests, and then they will often plant a kiss right in the middle of my forehead. “Love you, Momma,” they’ll say, and their kindness to me is something I don’t take for granted. But when Raph was hugging his siblings this morning in our sunny kitchen and telling them good-bye, I just wasn’t ready yet. I hate to say good-bye, and I really do put it off as long as I possibly can.. He went back up to his room while I finished last minute things. Then the friend who was staying with our ladies came, and I gave her last minute instructions, Daniel came belatedly down the steps and we rushed to the car so we wouldn’t be late for the wedding.
Halfway to the church, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t told Raph good-bye. Somehow, in the last minute scramble, I had missed it!
“Oh, no!” I said to Daniel.
“What?” he asked.
“I forgot to tell Raph ‘good-bye’!” I wailed, “And it is too late to go back now.” I pulled out my cell phone and called him and he was sympathetic, even sad, but we both knew it couldn’t be undone, so I went on to the wedding, fighting my tears before we ever even got there, and having even more difficulty when they ushered my Sweet Mama in alone on this happy day, and still more when we sang “Lift Your Glad Voices” in memory of Carey’s father, Daniel, who went to Heaven very unexpectedly in February, 2006.
Maybe it was the reminder of how fragile life is that made me so acutely aware of the missed good-bye. I don’t really know. But it will be alright. It isn’t so much the “good-bye done right” that matters, but rather, the “relationship done right” that is important.
God-speed, My Son. I will always love you!