We have so many things to look forward to in our lives. Most things fill us with hope and promise of laughter, smiles, and better days. There are certainly things that are dreaded that fill us with anticipation, but it's the joyous occasions that we hold dear in our hearts. The anticipation of vacations, new jobs, family events, weddings, babies, and so much more, provide us with journeys we fondly remember and from which the stories of our lives emerge.
Think about how children (and adults too!) act when Christmas approaches. The tree goes up, gifts accumulate under the tree, and the stockings hang waiting to be filled with Santa's treats. They peek, shake packages, and giggle with delight. When Christmas morning finally comes, they tear through packages and suddenly look around and go, "Is that all?" It's not because they are greedy but because the anticipation has turned into reality and even though it was exciting, the reality is - there are now 354 days before it happens again.
As a sprinter sits in the blocks at the biggest track meet of his/her life, getting ready for the run that will be over in mere seconds, he/she methodically puts every body part in the right position, breathes deeply, relaxes and waits for the gun to send him/her hurtling down the track. They trained for this moment for days, weeks, months, maybe even years. And just like that it's over in the blink of an eye. So yes, the destination, the moment we've all been waiting for, is monumental, but it will be the journey - the anticipation if you will - that is remembered fondly and oh yes, almost as an asterisk, so will the results.
Next weekend, my son and his fiance get married. We have been looking forward to this since before they became engaged. People moaned when they said it would be two years before the wedding occurred. And while that seemed a long time in the future, I knew it would be over in the blink of an eye, just as the last 24 years of his life have gone by.
Wasn't it just yesterday that my baby boy, who was due in June, waited until July to arrive so he could have a birthday in the same month as the rest of his family? Where did the little boy go that once let Legos, Power Rangers, and Harry Potter dominate his world? Everything he did he did well, or he didn't do it at all. My little thinker took his time before he played sports, considered all of his options before making a decision, took only calculated risks if the reward was great enough (like agreeing to perform in solo trombone competitions and select groups so he could get that prized trigger trombone he wanted so badly), and played everything by the book. The friends he hung out with as a 5 year old, were still his friends as a teenager, and now they will stand up with him, along with a couple of new friends he made along the way, as he marries his one true love.
My son has grown up from that neat and orderly little boy, to a neat and orderly adult. The only real risk he's taken in his life was to give his heart to that blond, curly-haired trombone player in the K-State Marching band who turned his head and made him feel like he was over the moon. She reeled him in (just like she did all of us) with her ready smile and caring ways. I asked him one time what he liked about her the most and he said it was how kind she was and how she made everyone around her feel comfortable. What a great thing to say about another person and I was proud that he valued those traits too. No wonder he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her!
Family and friends have planned for this big event for most of these past 2 years. I know there will be things we forgot or have to adjust at the last minute. It will be okay. And as my son's soon-to-be mother-in-law observed last weekend, "It doesn't really matter if every detail goes off as planned. The important thing is that when it's done, they will be married, and I can't wait for that to happen!" I totally agree... their marriage is the most important thing, but I can't help but breathe it all in as this leg of the journey comes to an end.
I know I will be savoring every moment of the decorating, the rehearsal, the wedding, and the reception that follows. I will be grateful for photos and videos that help me relive what will soon jumble in my memory. I remember my daughter's wedding much the same way. But as much as I wanted to be in the moment, much of it was a blur.
I continue to look at the slide show made for the wedding and wonder where the time went. My emotions are bubbling at the surface, ready to spill without warning. A song, a look, or a hug may let it all pour out. I'm okay with that. I want to feel as much as I want to see and hear everything that goes on during this last week of preparation. All too soon, the anticipation of this blessed event will give way to reality. As the song notes, "This is the Moment" that I will be trying my darnedest to enjoy and savor. And as the last song fades, the decorations fall gently to the floor, and the bride and groom steal away into the night, we will look back and smile and realize it's now time to find something new to look forward to. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying every moment.