One cool thing about getting married while you’re still a baby is that you can mark significant anniversaries typically celebrated only by old people. Last January, when I realized that October 1, 2022 will mark 45 years since our wedding day, and that it fell on the Saturday of a long weekend, I began to scheme. All I wanted was to have our kids and grandkids with us for a few days. Organizing a family photo shoot would be the icing on the cake.
Odds were against making this happen. Covid-19 was still raging. Some of our crew would need to travel from Alberta. It would mean pulling kids out of school. Coordinating it all felt insurmountable. But with nine months’ lead time, I decided to start planning, hoping the early notice would work in our favor.
Once I had all our kids at least semi-committed, I booked three nights at a friend’s cottage near Clear Lake. They warned us it was up for sale, but they’d take it off the market if it hadn’t sold by the end of April. I booked a photographer friend to join us for one of the three days. Although everything seemed set, I knew I would need to hold the whole plan with open hands so that it would be less painful if it fell apart.
It has indeed tried to fall apart several times.
First, a job loss resulted in a plummeting income. How could we afford this now? I never would have started planning had I known. We decided to wait and pray. Before long, we received an unexpected cash gift that would cover the cost. It was easy to decide what to earmark the money for. Onward and upward.
Then, our friends sold their cottage. I wanted to cry but prayed instead. I approached another friend with a cottage, expecting to hear they did not rent it out. It turned out their cottage was not only available to us but also had more to offer at less cost. We booked it.
Shortly after that, our Alberta kids learned they had to move. Given their time constraints and Calgary housing, there was a likely chance they would need to be moving the weekend of our anniversary and would not be making the trip. I prayed hard about this one because no amount of texting, phoning, or alternative planning on my part could fix it. But on July 29 our daughter texted that they’d be getting the keys to their new digs in mid-August, leaving plenty of time to settle in before heading for Manitoba. Yay!
Next, we learned our photographer may have to bow out due to a family health situation. This one is still up in the air and being prayed about. We may have to settle for trying to take our own pictures, but at least we’ll have made memories.
|Getting this family together for a photo might be easier.|
Between the prayers and the problem-solving, I’ve been planning meals and activities for this event while still trying to “hold it loosely.” Is that even possible? Having it pried out of my hands at this stage would be painful for sure. But holding it so loosely that I fail to plan would mean it never happens. It reminds me of that old saying, “Plan like you’ll live forever, live like you’ll die tonight.”
Maybe only mothers of adult children can fully appreciate the value of and the longing for this type of gathering—especially those for whom it’s a rare occurrence. A dozen things could still go wrong and some of them probably will. The juggle and struggle between our expectations and our disappointments can feel like a high-wire tightrope act, can’t it? As much as I want everybody present, happy to be there, getting along with each other, and returning home feeling loved and blessed and glad they came—it’s out of my hands. Seems like a lot to ask. Seems like high hopes.
I’ll keep you posted.