HFH: Family

I might have started to feel nervous about the wedding, but I wasn’t at all nervous about meeting Elder’s family. I was excited. Ede and Malcolm stayed home as Ede had just given birth to twins, but I could hardly wait to meet his other sister and brother-in-law, Easter Lily and Jarrett, his nephews and niece, Elicanto, Flarn, and Amina, and his mom, Cooper.

Family

“Hi, Aunt Cathy! You mean I get to be the flower girl?”

All along, Elder had been like this miracle of nature to me–like he just sprang out of a myrrh tree, like Adonis.

When I met his family, though, suddenly so much of who he is fell into place for me.

His mom, Cooper, shines with the same light that he does. Photos don’t do her justice–she’s illuminated. I have never seen a more beautiful woman.

Family

Cooper carries this quiet sadness about her, even when she’s happy on the outside, and it adds depth to her beauty.

Elder and I found a moment alone with Cooper, which was something that I felt was important.

When I first met her, I just wanted to convey how honored and grateful I felt to meet her and to soon be a member of her family.

Family

“I’ve looked forward to meeting you for so long!”

“I know it might seem sudden,” Elder said, “but this is something I’ve been hoping for for a long time, Mom. You remember that conversation we had before I headed out to Desert Leaders?”

“I think so, Elder,” she said.

“You told me then that ‘love follows its own schedule. And it’s always worth it.'”

“Had you two known each other then?” Cooper asked.

“Yeah,” Elder said, “We met at Plum Day.”

Family

“I had the feeling you had someone specific on your mind when we had that talk.”

Suddenly, Cooper let out this wild, throaty laugh.

We moved down to the other end of the table, just because.

“It was you!” she cackled. “You were the one who was in his heart!”

Family

“Mom and I had this long heart-to-heart before I left for Desert Leaders, and I didn’t really come out and say anything, but I was thinking about you and me during the whole conversation.”

It was my turn to become enthusiastic next.

“Whatever you said to him, Cooper, thanks! Desert Leaders was great, but the best part of it was that it brought him here!”

Family

“You should have seen the look on his face when he first showed up at our door!”

“Ever since we met,” I told his mom, “my heart’s been in Elder’s hands.”

She smiled. “Your dad used to say that to me all the time,” she said. “Romance seems to follow this family like a bear follows bees to the hive.”

Family

“We’ve got this open-palm type of love!”

I wanted to give the two of them a chance to talk alone, so I headed upstairs to meet Easter.

Family

It must be something to realize your boy has become a man.

Easter’s got that same family glow. She’s so gorgeous, my eyes feel a little tender when I look at her.

Family

“Easter! You’re even sweeter than your name!”

“I always knew my goofy brother would fall for a woman in an animal hat!” she said.

Family

I can’t believe how fun it is to meet the women that Elder grew up with!

Family

Wait… did she just dis me?

Once I realized that Easter is as quirky as I am, we got along great. I’m starting to think that this is what it feels like to have a sister.

The best part, for me, was getting to know my nephews and niece.

I never dreamed that I would be an aunt, since I don’t have siblings of my own. And “Aunt Cathy” feels like a role that fits so naturally!

Family

“Hey, pipsqueak! Are you spying on the eagles up there?”

We became friends that afternoon, and Elder and I took the kids out to the park–an outing with Uncle Elder and Aunt Cathy Tea!

Family

“I’ve got a big spot in my heart just for you, Elicanto Whirly!”

I felt almost overcome by all this newness–a new, ready-made family that has welcomed me right into their midst. A start of my life with Elder, one of the Wolff pack. A whole future of moments like this, when our hearts reach out to each other and do that little dance that hearts do when facing each other’s uniqueness and each other’s commonality. Ah, love! It’s everything divine!

We found Cooper sitting alone in the dining room when we brought the kids back to the B & B.

She looked sad, and I could imagine that her memories were turning back to when Elder’s father handed her his own heart in his open palms.

As I stand here at our beginning, I can’t think of what I can do to ease the sadness that waits on the other side of a life journey together. What can Elder and I do to bring joy to Cooper?

Just love each other and let that circle of love expand to embrace all those that share our lives. Maybe that is what a wedding ceremony is for.

Family

Remembering brings a little sweetness, too.

Now I understand why people cry at weddings. Every beginning foretells an end.

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