It has been a busy few weeks. The best part was being in Utah for our son's wedding, seeing the joy in his face as he knelt across the altar from his glowing, beautiful bride Mary, and catching up with family, especially my grandsons. Kristy has posted quite a few pictures of the wedding already, and you can check them out at thebonnymess.blogspot.com, but I have posted some of my favorite shots here.
Coming back to Doha has been quite difficult, especially because we left family, our comfortable home, and the crisp cool temperatures of Utah in October. The fall colors were amazing, and the weather for the wedding couldn't have been better. The other difficult part is the jet lag - boy has it been tough. Abbey was up all night one night, not able to sleep. She then went to school and came home and crashed on the couch. But it has all been worth it for the treasured experiences we had. It was wonderful to be in the temple, especially for such important and sacred purposes.
I want to thank those of you who sacrificed time, money, and energy to be a part of Ben's wedding. We have an awesome family and remarkable friends who are generous and supportive. Thank you to Jared for traveling back and forth to and from Colorado twice (once by car, once on the plane) so he could teach and be in Utah at critical times. Jared was also Abbey's hero when he made time to carve a pumpkin with her in the middle of all the hullabaloo. He thought she had been cheated out of some the normal Halloween fun, and he really helped restore some of that. Thank you to Kristy who gracefully balanced two little boys while creating a breathtaking hairdo for her little sister Abigail and beautifying herself for the reception as well. In fact, she balanced many things while throwing a bridal shower, creating beautiful wedding gifts for Ben and Mary and precious birthday and Christmas gifts for us to bring back to Doha. Grown up kids are such a blessing!
Thank you so much to Mary's parents Ed and Ann. They, along with their fabulous family, created such a glorious day for Ben and Mary. And the work they did over the last three months has been invaluable, and I'm not just talking about planning a wedding. They have been Ben's surrogate parents since we have been in Qatar. Thanks also for understanding when we left all the clean up to you and your crew so we could go home and pack. I can't say enough good things about such great people. And the best part is that now we are related! Speaking of being related, I want to thank my brother Mark and his wife Amy for coming from Hurricane to participate. Mark jumped in to help with the audio visual difficulties at the wedding dinner, even though he has never even been close to being a computer geek.
Thanks also to my good friend Jennifer who tended Abbey, Thomas, and Kimball while we were in the temple for the endowment day, even though she had seriously burned her leg the day before with boiling water. What a trooper! Thanks Jacque for watching Abbey the morning of the sealing and delivering her to the temple at the perfect time for her to see the bride and groom come out for pictures. Thanks to Jenny and Jacque for taking Abbey and 15 of her friends for ice cream one night. It was perfect timing because she got pretty tired of all the wedding chaos. A big thank you goes to the Reilley family and Josh for saving the wedding dinner by magically pulling a laptop out of your car so the "show" could go on. We have so much gratitude and love for all of you who have blessed our lives and helped Ben get to this point in his life.
As I danced with my son at the reception, I realized that the biggest part of his life was just beginning. We have had him in our home for 22 precious years. Mary will have him for . . . well forever. Then I remembered the gold locket around my neck that I had dug out of my stored jewelry box that night to wear. Brett gave it to me years ago, when Kristy and Ben were small. I had placed small photos of Kristy and Ben in that locket then. Over the years Kristy's picture had fallen out and gotten lost, and I hadn't found a small enough picture to put in its place. So little Ben's photo was solo in my locket that night.
Even though moms have their children for such a short time in comparison to the rest of their lives, moms know them in a unique, microscopic way. Just as I can hold that tiny photo of Ben in my locket, I can also hold all those times with him when he was first discovering how scissors worked on my bedspread, how his new carving set could cut through anything, including his knee, and how to stand up for himself with his sister and chased her around the dining room table to retrieve the last candy bar that was rightfully his. I can even hear his dead pan comment in my head when we told him he was going to have another sister: "Well I guess I'm going to be mowing the lawn the rest of my life." He didn't know how true that would be! Those times and many more sacred and blissful times are treasures to me. Ben is a remarkable man now, one who has grown in leaps and bounds in the last year, especially since meeting Mary. I just hope he forgives me for hanging on to my locket-frozen Ben, pulling him out at times, and cherishing the baby and the boy he grew from. What a blessing you are my Ben!