Friday, April 6, 2012

And the countdown begins . . .

Today is April 6, 2012.  Exactly one year from today Erin will get married.  Just 364 days and a few hours.  Seems like such a long time, doesn't it?  I'm sure it feels like a long time to Erin and TJ.  It occurred to me yesterday the significance of today's date and all day I've been trying to pinpoint how I feel about it.

By this time next year all the little details will have been taken care of.  Probably by this time of the evening the actual service will be over and the celebration will have begun.  I hope it's a party to remember!  I know that it will be a joyous time for John and me.  I can only compare what we felt once the actual ceremony was over to what I image Erin and TJ will be feeling.  I believe that the wedding's being in Birmingham will serve a particular purpose:  the ceremony will be intimate and involve only those who truly wish to see Erin off into her marriage surrounded by people who love her.  When she and I talked about how there will probably not be too many people attending, she made a point I hadn't considered.  If there aren't that many people in attendance, she will be able to remember those who are.  She'll have time to speak to each one so they'll know how much she appreciates their coming.

I've been looking all over the internet for an event countdown application I can put on my Facebook page.  Now that we have exactly a year left to go, I thought that would be a neat thing to have.  Then every time I log on I'll be able to see exactly how many days are left.  I think that with every day that passes I will get more and more excited!

Erin has started her own countdown of sorts.  Her last semester in Tuscaloosa is quickly drawing to a close.  In a month she will move home for the last time.  She'll spend a week or so with us getting ready for her move to Wisconsin.  I'm not sure how I'll react when that day comes.  TJ is coming down to drive back with her so we don't have to worry about her safety on the road.  That's a very long way to have to drive alone.  I'm sure that the drive will be memorable for the two of them.  They'll literally be driving toward their future.  When she and I talk about her move, I get the feeling she is trying very hard not to show how excited she really anxious she is for this segment  of her life to begin.  I may be horribly wrong, but if I'm reading the situation correctly, I think she thinks that if she let's us see how jumping-up-and-down excited she is that she'll in some way hurt our feelings.  That is so far from the truth of the situation.  She doesn't have to hold back her excitement from us.  We are as excited over her future as she is!  Sure, we'll miss her the same as we did when she moved to Tuscaloosa.  And I know that this move is of an entirely different nature.  But she is so very, very happy and her excitement is contagious!  I think the only thing that will really bother me is how far away she will be.  For the past two years she has been only 3 to 4 hours away from home.  A quick trip home for the weekend wasn't out of the question and (except for the price of gas) manageable.  After the middle of May a trip home will involve some pre-planning and a plane ticket!  I've already decided that I'm going to visit and have begun doing a little planning ahead for plane tickets.  I don't see myself making a special trip this summer, though.  Even though she spent last summer there, I think the two of them need this summer together without too many visitors.  She'll be home again in July to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding so it won't really be that long after she moves that I'll get to see her.  I don't know how long they'll be here (TJ is planning to make the trip with her), but I'll take what I can get!  It really won't be any longer than I went without seeing her last summer.  I think I will cope okay!

In conversations Erin and I have had since she came home last summer, I have become more and more aware of what her life in Wisconsin will be like.  From a parental point of view I couldn't ask for better.  She has made friends there and she and TJ have found a church where they feel they belong.  She knows how demanding TJ's work schedule can be and how he isn't always in control of how his day will go.  They have made plans that had to be cancelled because of something going on at the dairy.  She just takes it in stride.  After last summer she has insight into the life she will be leading and doesn't let things like that bother her.  Even with her impatience to go back over this past school year, I have seen a different maturity in her.  As much as she wanted to be with TJ, she has done what she needed to do in Tuscaloosa.  Now that she is actually engaged she is even more anxious to finish what she needs to do here and move on to her life with TJ.  I remember that feeling well...

Only 364 days and some odd hours left.  You can be sure that I'll have a constant countdown in my heart to the day when she won't - officially - belong to us anymore.  But now that I stop to think about it, she hasn't really been ours since her trip to San Diego.  She went to visit a friend and came home with stars in her eyes.  Since then the writing has been on the wall.  She loves him.  He loves her.  They are each other's future.  They see forever and the possibility of blessings to come when they look in each other's eyes.

I know that in 364 days and some odd hours what precedence I have had in her life will officially be over.  Even though I get a funny feeling in my heart and my eyes well with tears when I think about it, I know that those are just simple emotional responses that every mother who has ever been through this has felt.  I'm sure I'll be looking at family photos and crying a lot more before this weekend arrives next year.  I hope that she knows that those tears, and those emotions, have nothing to do with being sad or unhappy.  I am just overwhelmed that all of our dreams for her are actually coming true.  I've seen her with TJ and can say with absolutely no reservations that I can see his love for her  in his every move.  I wonder if he knows just how precious he is to me simply by loving Erin as we have always wanted her to be loved?

TJ has his future well in hand and Erin is very much a part of those plans.  Regardless of where their future takes them, Erin will be cherished by her husband.  What more could any mother ask?

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