Remember how I wrote a book, and how it’s still in draft form on my computer? Right. Well, I have no idea if or when I’ll do something with that. So in the meantime, because I have something new to write about, I’m going to use a tiny excerpt to help tell this little story.
My sister Hayley is getting married next week! I’m so excited for her, and we all love her fiance, Matt. I’m one of two matrons of honor, but we already need to stop this story because…
…for real, who came up with matron of honor? It’s just a horrible word, matron. I feel like there’s probably some historical reason why it mattered whether your maid of honor was married or not and therefore needed/wanted a different title, but I don’t care to research it, and I’m just going to call me and my cousin Karah, the other matron of honor, MOH and leave it at that.
Anyway, back to the point, Hayley is getting married!!!
There are hundreds of details involved in planning a wedding, as anyone who has ever been closely involved in one knows. Obviously, for most brides, their mom is a huge part of the planning. And obviously for Hayley, this isn’t an option.
It is sad, planning a wedding without your mom. However, Hayley has been amazing at not hanging out in “what if” or “I wish…” I am sure that it helps tremendously that it’s been nearly ten years since we lost our mom; we’ve gone through a whole lot of things without her here, and time does, truly, take away some of the sting. I can’t help but think this would be much harder if this was just a year after she died. But, there is no denying that we wish Mom was here to do all of those little wedding details with her.
Again, though, we aren’t dwelling there. This is a celebration, and we’re making it one. Which, of course, means that we had a shower for Hayley.
So here’s where I’ll back up and pull an excerpt from the book…
My parents met, married, and lived in my mom’s hometown. Actually, my mom lived there her whole life minus her years at Eastern Illinois University, where her roommates were even friends from home for some of the time.
My mom was soft-spoken and kind; I have to think she was pretty easy to like and befriend. She had three lifelong best friends, all girls that she had known since elementary school. Those three friends, Val, Marty and Joan, all also married men from Effingham and settled there. Naturally, the four husbands became close friends, too.
Doesn’t that sound like a movie? Even as I wrote this, I had to blink back tears thinking about how special and unique it is to have close friendships that literally span your entire life like my mom had. Those relationships impacted me both as a child who loved times when these families gathered, either to enjoy each others’ company or to help when there was a need, and again as an adult who learned so much from watching these friends spring into action when circumstances changed.
This group of friends watched their crew grow from no kids to 15. They saw each other through the births of all those babies, illnesses and deaths of some of their parents, job changes, moves to different homes. When they all had houses full of really young kids, the moms got us together for morning “coffee,” which was likely code for “we don’t see each other often enough so let’s have the kids burn some energy together so we can catch up.” The guys went fishing. These families did life together for years and years.
And when the years passed by and my mom’s biopsy revealed cancer, they didn’t walk away. Not even close.
(There’s so much more to that chapter, including information on other groups of friends and our family, but I have to get back to the wedding story…)
Hayley’s lived in the St. Louis area for well over a decade, and our dad doesn’t live in Effingham anymore, so we decided it was easiest to just have one big shower in St. Louis. In addition to our family from all over, we invited several of Mom’s lifelong friends, and our former neighbors, and Hayley’s and my boss from Homewood Grill, Mindy, who was also a good friend of Mom’s.
And they came, to celebrate Hayley. And to honor our mom, really. I didn’t think to take group pictures until it was almost too late and several people had already left, but I am so thankful that I got this one.
Val, Joan, Hayley, Mindy, Marty.
[I know that several people who wanted to attend couldn’t because of other commitments or distance, so please don’t read into this further if you couldn’t make it. I just think it’s really amazing to see friends of my mom’s show up so long after she died to help us celebrate.]
Wedding day: coming soon 🙂