Today the house is quiet again. Jay is at work, Austin is at school, Chelsea is back at college, and Ashley is....on her honeymoon. Even as I type that last part, I still can't grasp it.
When she was here one day last week, she brought her favorite baby doll from her room to show Lance. "Baby Jessica" as she always called her, and she was still dressed in the old flannel nightgown Ashley always had her wear.
She propped Baby Jessica up on one the pedestal beside the plant in our dining area. She turned and said to Lance "Just think, some day maybe we'll be blessed with our own real Baby Jessica", and they both smiled.
Today, I sat at the table all alone, quiet with my thoughts. I just can't get my mind to grasp the thought that Ashley is now married. She is someones wife, someones daughter-in-law, someones sister-in-law. She's no longer just our daughter, and she'll never be just that again. That thought makes me sad.
But at the same time, I am so very happy for her. I can remember when Jay and I were on our honeymoon, and we were making all kinds of plans for our future. It was so exciting and full of possibilities. Knowing they are doing the same things makes me smile. I love knowing she is so happy.
I know I saw the wedding, casual and relaxed - just the way they wanted it. God answered our prayers and blessed us with sunshine, when there wasn't any before, and there hasn't been any since. He also held off the rain. The clouds started to move in as we packed up. They got closer as we all hugged and said our goodbyes, and as we all left town, the rain started to fall. Thank you God for holding it off just long enough.
I know I saw the reception, again, casual and relaxed. I saw the photographer snapping pictures, and I know I also took many pictures, and yet to grasp the idea that my little girl is married, seems impossible.
Maybe it takes time to come to terms with that. Maybe it'd be easier if they were coming home together to start their new life...not her coming back to finish college, and him going off to war...another thought that makes me sad. My prayers will continually be with them both.
The selfish part of me couldn't bring myself to change her name on my cell phone just yet. I left her maiden name, but I did add in her new married name in behind it. Baby steps.
I'll keep Baby Jessica on the pedestal for a while,and together she and I will come to know and accept that Ashley will never be just ours anymore. We'll also continue to be happy for her and pray for her as we've always done, but we'll also continue to include our new son in our prayers.
And then maybe someday, God willing, they will be blessed with their own real Baby Jessica, and then I'll have to get used to a another new idea: I will be a Grandma.
But I'm thinking that one will be easier. :)