I had one job, just one very simple task of providing the bride with something borrowed. It was about midnight when she text me telling me that she had everything for her big day except for something borrowed and asked if I could please fill that need. Now, for those that know me well know that I save NOTHING. I clean house every single day, I have been extremely selective on what I have saved from the kids childhood days. There is no clutter, no boxes of past momentos stacked in my closet of anything that I could allow her to borrow for her big day.
The first time I met Nataleigh I instantly fell in love with her. She has this personality that draws you in like a warm hug from your best friend. She was fun and played with the kids; Caroline was especially fond of her. She was stylish, southern and I knew she was already in love with my son. There is a natural beauty about Nataleigh that you know comes from deep inside. She is the answered prayer for a mother’s son.
Because of the age difference between Nathan and Elizabeth, he was well on his way to college when Life with Elizabeth started. This however did not keep them from forming a special bond. In fact, theirs is a bond quite like none other I have seen. Nathan grew up with Elizabeth much like Caroline and Alex are doing now. There was so much attention on her at a time when Nathan was growing up. He also missed out on being a kid and found himself having to be more grown up than his age. Nathan had to play a role that no one should have asked him to take on. Because of the divorce Nathan found himself as the male role model to the younger children and had to set aside so many of his own needs for that of Elizabeth, Caroline and Alex. I dealt with much guilt and regret demanding such a role of a young teenage boy but in true Nathan fashion he stepped up to the challenge without hesitation and met it head on.
Nathan became Elizabeth’s best friend. He was so much more than just a big brother. He protected her, he guarded her and stood up for her. He comforted her and knew her needs, sometimes even before I did. It changed Nathan. He became kindhearted and extremely sensitive to other children with special needs. I remember having to tell a mother that Nathan was the brother of a special needs sister when he bent down to talk to a boy with downs syndrome at the store. He was always looking for those that needed help and many times taking off to find out their needs before I could stop him. He fed the homeless in parking lots, worried about children who did not have parents, stopped for a stray animal and was always the first to help the elderly. But there was one person who captured his heart more than anyone else and that was Elizabeth. I worried what would happen when Nathan met the girl he would marry. Would she have room in her heart for Elizabeth and understand the bond these two shared? The answer to that question would be yes. Nataleigh and Elizabeth were immediate friends. Nataleigh understood that Elizabeth needed Nathan as much as she did.
When Nathan proposed it was Nataleigh who called to tell me. She was so excited to tell me the news! The wedding would be about 10 months away, giving us plenty of time to plan for a true Southern wedding. Everything would be monogrammed, only the best food and wine would be served. Simple and elegant was our goal. There would be showers and more showers to introduce Nataleigh to family and friends. The wedding party would be their closest friends and the reception would be filled with toasts to the new couple. It was overwhelming at times, even to the point that I offered to send them off to the beach for a small, intimate wedding by the water and a party later! The more we talked about the wedding and what Nathan and Nataleigh wanted it was obvious it was more about family than the initials that would grace the linen napkins served at dinner. The more we planned, the more it seemed like we were losing focus of what was truly important to the bride and groom … family.
The phone call started with we have something to tell you … which I have reminded these two over and over that is not how you begin a phone conversation with your mother. It allows too much for the imagination, and if your imagination is anything like mine, well it’s just too much! They told me that the wedding was just too much, it was quickly spiraling into an event and less into a marriage and that they were losing sight of what was most important to them. I have to say it was one of my proudest moments of these two as a young couple. We talked about a family only ceremony and then an extended honeymoon for the wedding party. I had just assumed we would keep the same date so when Nataleigh told me they wanted to pull this all together in 2 weeks I was somewhat panicked that we would never have the time to give her the wedding she would be happy with. What I learned over the next few weeks that what made Nathan and Nataleigh happy was just each other and beginning their life together. So for the next 14 days we planned, shopped and gathered everything that Nataleigh requested for her day.
It was late summer; the evening was beautiful with a sunset that could not have been more perfect for this day. Lanterns and flowers scattered under the tree where they would tell of their love for one another; family gathered and introductions were made. It was the wedding Nataleigh wanted. Just as the sun began its journey into the night I was told the bride was waiting for me. Sleep had not come easy for me the night before as I went through each and every closet and dresser trying to find just that one thing I could allow Nataleigh to borrow that would become the bond between a son and his wife. It was in the early morning hours, the sky was still dark and the outside quiet when I found a box in the back of my closet behind a row of shoes. It was labeled
“Nathan’s baby things”
I was sure there would be nothing suitable for a bride on her wedding day but as I looked deep inside and to the bottom of the brown box I found a small jewelry box and years of precious gifts that Nathan had given to me growing up. I sat on my closet floor carefully moving each one around with the tip of my finger remembering the occasion, the day and the proud moments of a little boy picking out something special for his momma.
I stood at the bottom of the stairs knowing that behind the door to the left my first-born son was preparing for the day he would take his bride and at the top of the stairs was a beautiful young lady that did not want to take a son from his mother but instead become a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter in a family that could not be happier to have her. I closed my fingers around the palm of my hand and made my way upstairs. She was stunning; the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. I could not hold back the tears and for a minute time stood still as we held hands crying and laughing and talking. I knew she was anxious to complete the tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue so I handed her the white box of special trinkets I had found just hours before. We were totally unaware of anyone else in the room or the photographer who captured beautifully our relationship. Sitting with her on the couch sharing each moment of a little boy with messy blonde hair, blue eyes and his cherished treasures was indeed a highlight of my life that I will always remember.