Occasionally, coming up with a catchy title for my stories is difficult. Many times it is rather simple; because often the stories that I do write, come from a simple word, thought, or moment that can be used as a title. Lately, my heart and mind are overflowing with thoughts, emotion…stories to tell. The word reflection is a term that comes to my mind frequently, these days. I seemingly have always viewed life as nothing more than a book; the moments, the years, the culmination of all “the things,” as nothing more than chapters in my book of life. I realize now, that my life will never be as simple as a single book. In reality, I am not sure any one persons life would fit into one solitary, neatly organized from beginning to end, novel. Coming to this realization, I began to seek another word, another format, another way to describe “what” it is when I translate my adventures, from this reeling mind of mine, into black and white. That word is: Volumes. My life is a series of volumes spanning now, four, and some odd decades. When I tell my stories, it is often suggested that I should write a book. My reply, always after I laugh, of course, is there is simply not enough ink in this entire universe to tell my story in its entirety. But, I will try. One day, perhaps, all of these fleeting thoughts, ideas, and experience will somehow flow together in a coherent and meaningful way. For today, I will begin, Volume II, Prologue:
My firstborn, Caleb, my baby boy, is marrying the love of his life this weekend. I still recall him telling me about this girl, Marissa, that he met on campus. He shared with me, all starry eyed, smiling, like I have never seen him smile in his adult life, that he had met the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen in his life. He was giggling, wringing his hands, nervous. He told me how nervous he was, because she was so incredibly beautiful. Taking advantage of the modern day tools such as Facebook and Instagram, as any mother would, I carefully figured out her last name…I am his mother; it is a totally acceptable thing to do! Anyhow, I found this girl, this most beautiful girl in the entire world, that had cast her spell on my sweet baby boy. I was speechless when I saw her profile photo. He was not kidding. Here I saw this stunning young woman, standing on what appeared to be a hillside or mountain. She exuded kindness, grace, and poise. All from a photo. My first thought…boy, this kid sure out-kicked his coverage! Of course I did not tell him that I stalked this poor girls photos…until later; and yes, they both know now that I did.
A couple of months after they met, it was Caleb’s birthday. I was taking him to dinner, with his younger sister. He asked if Marissa (the mysterious, most beautiful girl in the world), could join us. Of course I said yes. I was dying to meet the young lady who turned my son’s world inside out, in the most wonderful of ways. We arrive at the restaurant, separately. I emerge from the car, and she is even more beautiful in person. I gave her a hug (I am a hugger), as Caleb introduced us. We walk into the restaurant together, engaging in small talk. Finally, we were seated. My daughter and I were across the table from the two of them. I watched. I watched in awe and wonder. I imagined how nervous she likely was, meeting “mom.” I recall what that felt like. She was poised, proper, and well spoken; speaking with just a hint of the sweetest, southern accent. I watched Caleb smile; his eyes would light up, and he smiled so proudly. Side note, Caleb was obsessed, and still is, with VW Beetles. He had a million as a kid, and would light up like a Christmas Tree in Central Park, anytime he would see, or even talk about one. This was bigger than that! Here I sit, watching my child, my little boy, as a man. A man who is clearly, and blatantly in love with a woman. We left dinner that evening, and I knew that she was “the one.” There is just something about a mother’s intuition. I am not sure if they knew, but Momma knew. I went away that night, hoping that this angelic girl, did not break my baby’s heart. I had to push it out of my mind.
Time passed. Caleb calls me last summer and tells me, that Marissa is the one. I mean, I knew that already…so no surprise there! He proclaims that she is one that he wants to spend his life with, to grow old with; the one that no matter how much they drive one-another nuts, that he wanted by his side. He said he could not imagine a life with out her in it. He saw what I saw the year before at his birthday dinner.
Caleb and Marissa do not “complete” one another, for they are complete, just as they are…but they are two puzzle pieces, that fit together in a bigger picture that one day will be completed. While it is bittersweet that my little baby is now, a man. I am so excited for this next volume. I am joyfully looking forward to seeing their own unique story, their puzzle come to life.
I stopped by their “nest” yesterday, to pick up wedding decor to drive to the venue. This is their first place together. I stood in the doorway, looking around their little apartment; boxes everywhere, dog barking, the bride and groom. to-be…looking tired, and frazzled; like the typical “it’s three days before our wedding; we are over it, and should have eloped,” look. This is a stressful time in their lives. They are learning that idiotic things just happen such as names being spelled incorrectly on their marriage certificate, honeymoon plans being altered because of a worldwide pandemic; new honeymoon may be rained out by tropical storms; bridesmaids backing out…and even a minor fender bender the day before. All the things that seem so big, and they are, to them, will pale in years to come. One day, they will laugh and wish that they could go back to this week; to this time. This time in their tiny first home. This time struggling as newlyweds. This time of getting to know one another in ways they never even imagined. I hope they savor every moment. We are all told to do so, yet so very few of us do.
I am so blessed to be a part of their lives. To see the harvest, of what I tried so very hard to instill as a mother; wondering, constantly, if I was permanently scarring this tiny human because I did not “do it right.” I realize now, I did the best that I knew to do, with the knowledge and resources that I had. It is good.
Now, a new Volume begins. This is where a new generation will be born. Where Caleb and Marissa will do it better than I did; better than my parents, and even grandparents did. We are creating a legacy. A legacy of love, of hope, of strength and perseverance.