With all of the wonders and delights that surrounded our wedding preparations, there was a small cloud that hung over us like mini thunderheads. Only our immediate family (husband and children) would be at this wedding. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins… they were all too far away or too busy to be able to come. While we understand the limitations that Alzheimers and the rising cost of gas brings, it was still a difficult thing to realize that there would be no extended family to help us celebrate.
The groom’s family is great and extended. He had aunts, uncles, all seven siblings and most of their families and even his sister-in-law’s mother came! For a short while, as I watched the photographs being taken, I was disappointed to realize that our family wasn’t here to share in that special day. I understood… and still do. It wasn’t some kind of slight against us to be taken personally. And I didn’t. But, none-the-less, it did hurt to think that she was not surrounded by the family we love so dearly and see so rarely.
I’d been teased for months about whether or not I’d cry. I came the closest I thought I’d come when Kevin walked her down the aisle at the rehearsal, Lorna perched on his arm just as Challice had perched on my father’s arm as he led me down the aisle just over 17 years ago. I did get quite a large lump in my throat but tears had no intentions of falling.
The wedding was delightful and I laughed so hard at Pastor Neipp’s impromptu shotgun, that I should have cried! The day rolled on and many blessings flowed in so many other ways. I’ll be blogging about those later.
Then, the next day, as I tried to edit pictures from the four days of preparation it began to sink in. I looked at picture after picture after picture and my throat swelled. I saw Wendy and Kristy there with Wendy’s children. They’d travelled from Idaho, rested overnight and then came to my house the next day with sleeves rolled up ready to work and with their merry hats on. It was so nice to finally meet her.
Dell and her family with their cheerful smiles and sweet faces shone back as I scrolled through picture after picture. They drove over 1000 miles to get here. I’ve known Dell for over 5 years online… but finally got to meet her at this wedding.
Ahh… Kiersten. My dear Kirky. She flew from Kansas to work tirelessly to help this wedding be all it could be. I’ve never met her before either. She’s a dear sister though, and her contribution to the success of this wedding can be seen in every lovely picture so painstakenly taken.
There was Dawn and her family. I’ve only met her twice before, and for just a few hours, but she was there, driving me for more icing, frosting cakes, decorating tables and brightening the room with her endearing smile.
Amanda came with her two children. It was like she hadn’t been gone for a year and a few months since her last visit. She chattered and delighted us with her amusing stories as she whisked all the little disorderlies into perfect order. I’ve only met her twice before as well but she was predictably helpful and I dont’ know what we’d have done without her.
Adrienne shopped, and went for flowers, and ran errands, and in general, made sure that all the little details weren’t forgotten in the grand scheme of big things. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that.
Our local friends worked hard as well, and other online friends drove up and spent precious time from family and gas dollars and motel dollars to be here.
As I went through all the pictures and saw the great extended Neipp family, I was blessed. As I remembered the photographer trying to make me understand that she wanted aunts and uncles and cousins… and me trying just as hard to make her understand that I DID understand but there just weren’t any… I was sad. And then I got to the pictures of all the work these dear ladies did. The local ‘aunties’ who stepped up to the plate and made potato salad, and loaned dishes, and shopped, and made flowers for cakes and cleaned and… oh boy they worked hard. I’m so thankful.
As I look at the lovely ladies I’ve known for years but just got to meet, I cried. It was beautiful, and they worked so hard. Never having met us, they put their time, money, and elbow grease on the line so we could have this marvelous day. It is because of them that I wasn’t stressed the day of the wedding. They took that burden on their shoulders.
Our family couldn’t come to this wedding… but our family was here. I am so blessed and thankful. Words cannot express my gratitude to my dear sisters.