Amy Rees Anderson

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” – Max DePree

Change is hard because it stretches us. It pulls us out of our comfort zone. It forces us to come out of the known and head into the unknown, and that is always a little unnerving. But the fact remains that in order to become everything we are meant to become in this life, we are going to have to embrace change. We are going to have to head fearlessly into new territories with a belief that the best is yet to come.

New territory is exactly what our family is headed into this week. Yes, the time has finally arrived. This is the week when my one and only son, my firstborn child, is getting married. I cannot even begin to describe the slew of emotions I am feeling this week!

You see, this is my little boy. The first child I ever brought into this world. When I look at him I see that cute little face beaming up at me as if I was his entire universe. I see the little boy who had to wear a baseball cap everywhere he went to hide the fact his bangs simply wouldn’t grow for the first few years. I see the little boy who put his hand on my shoulder and lovingly said “It’s okay mom, Jesus will help it grow back” after he took a pair of scissors and chopped off those bangs that had taken so long to finally grow in. I see the boy who would cup his little sisters cheeks in his tiny hands and tell her everything was going to be okay whenever she was crying.  I see the boy that carried his Woody doll from the movie Toy Story everywhere he went, reciting each line from the movie word for word.  I see the boy who gave me the world’s biggest “don’t leave me” hug before heading into the school with his little backpack dressed in his new uniform for his first day of class to begin. That’s the little boy I still see when I look at him.

Yet here he is. A 6’3” grown man, handsome as can be. He is kind, and generous, and smart, and funny, and confident, and spiritual, and strong. A man who served a two year full time mission for his church, a man who is only one year away from completing his college education, and a man who is about to marry the girl of his dreams for time and all eternity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint Temple.  That little boy that I still see when I look at him has somehow become an adult that is about to become a husband and then someday a father who will raise a family of his own with his sweetheart.

And all of that is an amazingly good thing. That is what I raised him to become – A kind, intelligent, loving man. And that is exactly who he is. So why is that I find myself tearing up whenever I get a minute on my own? Why is there that feeling of sadness when the outcome for his life is everything I have prayed for and wanted to see happen?

I don’t have a great answer other than to say that as beautiful and amazing and wonderful it is to see your children grow to be incredible adults that you are so proud of, there is also a sadness that comes with the recognition that your role as the parent is going to change forever because your child will never rely on you the same way again – because as they should, they will rely on their spouse now. But even when you know and appreciate that things will be as they should be, the fact remains that losing that spot as your child’s #1 isn’t easy…and no one can really prepare you for how much that will affect your heart…it’s one of those things you can’t fully grasp until you go through it yourself. I think it hits especially hard for Mothers losing their sons and Father’s losing their daughters. All I am saying is that you shouldn’t be surprised when your time comes to give away your child in marriage and you find yourself crying in the bathroom a few times so no one else will see you…

And yet in spite of the tears, I am incredibly happy and so proud of my little boy. I am proud of the man he has become. I am proud of the fact he has lived his life in such a way that he is worthy to take his sweetheart to the Temple so they can be married and sealed together for eternity. I am proud that he chose a young woman who has lived her life the same way. I am proud that they both understand that the way to have a happy family is to always put God first and they are dedicated to living their lives that way and raising a family of their own that way. I know my family will never be the same after this week. It will never be just me and Rollin and Dalton and Ashley again. But I also know it will be better…because now we have Alexis too. And we have her amazing family that will forever be tied to ours. So as I go throughout this week I know that mixed with those tears of sadness over letting go of what we are, there will definitely be tears of joy as I embrace all that we as an eternal family are becoming…life is beautiful, and no doubt, the best is yet to come…

Here’s looking forward to an amazing week ahead…

~Amy

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