I was all settled in on the plane holding Kelly Corrigan’s new book Glitter and Glue in my hands when the plane started to ascend into take-off and since this is not my favorite part of flying I closed my eyes and let my mind wander. I let my mind take me back to the conversation when I asked Taylor how this girl was different from all the rest, how had someone finally made the cut? There have been so many before and none of them lasted long enough for Taylor to change his lifestyle for them as soon as any girl required that he adjust for her she was gone. But he was adjusting for this girl, and when I asked him why I will never forget the look on his face when he said “I don’t know, Mom, she is just so cool” I think that is when I knew that this girl was staying, probably forever.
And now I was on my way to Florida to go engagement ring shopping with Taylor and to get him a suit for graduation and the proposal dinner. Our sons put themselves through college so we tried to help with other things. We had paid for the engagement ring for Mychal and Allison and by some miracle I had managed to save enough money to give some to Taylor also and right before I left on the trip, still not sure how I was going to do everything I needed to do provision arrived the I-didn’t-see-that-coming-kind. Since our life was turned upside down, God has made sure that I have been able to do the ‘Mom things” that matter to me; I have always had what I needed to do that. God has been very faithful in that regard and really in life I require very little else, except maybe a good haircut on occasion.
I started to read Kelly’s book, it is the journey of crossing the gap that stood between her and her Mother. Becoming a Mother had helped her look at her Mother with new eyes. It is a short and beautiful read and just about the time I was landing I read the line where she talks about this business of raising humans as hard but sacred work…I felt immediately the knot in my throat…the surge of emotion because this woman in the middle of her parenting journey understood profoundly what I was feeling as I am finishing mine. Being a Mother, the real kind requires so much, costs so much and it matters so much. The plane was landing as I finished Glitter and Glue and I couldn’t wait to see Taylor and be with Niana again. Before I knew it I was holding my boy and hugging his girl.
Every part of my 3 days in Florida was a sweet and sacred time of finalizing Taylor’s launch into independent adult life. I loved seeing the house he lives in with 3 other guys from school, spotlessly cleaned for my arrival. Going to class with him, cooking for roommates and girlfriends and shopping for his suit, I kept thinking to myself this is a very important trip and I am so glad I paid attention to the nudges and found a way to make it happen. All of it mattered, all of it so incredibly meaningful to Taylor and to me.
And then it was time to shop together for the ring. He and Niana had looked at different rings and talked about what she liked and wanted. Taylor had saved some money also because he knew the limited amount I had to offer and so armed with our budget and what she might like we drove to Tampa and walked into the shop. In the sales advertisement there was an example of the ring she had admired, so I showed the ladies and gave them our budget. We looked at the options and they told us about the cool deals that were going on that day and we realized we could get a little more for less and that together we could get her exactly what she wanted. When the sales people realized we were going to buy a ring that day with cash they showed us a beautiful heart shaped necklace and noted that for customers purchasing big ticket items this necklace could be purchased as part of a special offer. It was beautiful and we admired it but then Taylor told the salesclerk thank-you but we needed a minute to discuss our final decision.
We deliberated and negotiated with each other and came up with a good plan and went to inform the team of our decision. Taylor bought the wrap around and I bought the engagement ring. At the end of our purchases Taylor asked to see the necklace again and asked me if I thought it was beautiful and I said “yes” but I was thinking you just spent a lot of money on a ring isn’t that enough for now… and then he turned and said “Mom I want you to have this, if you like it…” I started to protest because I don’t really wear necklaces and I didn’t want him to spend any more money, but the look on his face stopped me and he said “Mom, this is your moment too and I want you to have something nice” And then I lost it, I hugged him and cried into his shoulder, the sweetness of his inclusion of me and wanting to honor me. It was simply stunning and wonderful; a life moment that takes your breath away. Even the sales girls were tearing up.
I love what my friend Michelle said when I told her the story “Who is this kid going to grow up to be?”
I am pretty sure he is and will always be the one and only Taylor.
Engaged: Taylor and Niana