Amanda and Ben: Going

I bustle around this evening, feeling overwhelmed by clutter, putting wedding decorations away, and consolidating roses into fewer vases, and trying to heap wedding gifts a little more neatly in the foyer. Clutter everywhere.

But not for long.

There’s a u-haul trailer in the driveway. Amanda and Ben will be here in the morning to load it with wedding gifts and a couch and a bed and a kitchen table and a hundred other big and small items, items that will transform Ben’s barren bachelor pad into a real home. By this weekend Amanda will have things looking friendlier, I’m betting, with food cooking on the stove, and a couch in the living room, and pictures on the walls, and her smile greeting him when he walks in the door.

No more will he need to sit in the library talking with her on the internet for hours, wishing they weren’t separated by 7 hours of mountain roads. Now they will be where they belong. Together. Joyful.

I smile to picture them beginning their life together, here at the start of thousands of tomorrows, Lord-willing. And yet along with the smiling, there’s a thought I don’t want to think, a thought I am trying to bury in restless activity.

She’s going.

As I straighten, I imagine how much neater the bedroom and the entry will look without piles of wedding gifts. I think about painting the bathroom now that I have time, and organizing the little girls’ messy bedroom, and maybe even reading a book one of these days, now that the wedding-in-5-weeks project is done.

But I remember still that she’s going.

I straighten Amanda’s room, and pack a bin full of their gifts, and change the sheets and make the bed, and neaten the room, and plan the lunch that I’ll be packing for them to take tomorrow. I have plenty to do. I’ll be fine.

But I know she’s going.

Only for three months, I tell myself. Then Ben graduates from college, and they move back here, Lord-willing. The time will go quickly.

But she’s going. 7 hours away.

I think about my friend who has been living literally half a world away from her young-adult children since last summer. This separation I am facing is nothing. I need to tough up.

But I still know she’s going. And my heart hurts.

I sort through wedding pictures. I print out the best candids, and put them in frames and nail them to the living room wall so they can’t escape. I get eye-rolling from a child who is tired of wedding being front and center and wants life back to normal.

But my Amanda is going.

When I miss her tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, as I already have half a dozen times today, I am going to look at these pictures, images that capture the love in their eyes. She and her young man — her husband — adore each other. That is why her daddy and I gave them our blessing. She’s ready. They’re ready. No matter how much my heart is paining me, this is what a kid is supposed to do.

Grow up.

Launch her own life.


Yes, go, my dear.

Fly high, dear ones.

Love each other.

I know you already do.


  1. Oh how precious and beautiful.

    So thoughtfully written, I am sure the happy couple with treasure this post.

    Thanks for sharing a little of your (and their) world with us.

    Hugs and prayers.

  2. So precious, it makes my eyes fill with tears knowing that I will cross this bridge one day and my oldest just turned 5!

  3. OH, you make my eyes mist up. I feel the pang of this. It’s always bittersweet. But it IS sweet too and we can’t forget it. I will pray for solace for you, and a swift few months til they return!

  4. I haven’t commented on all the wedding postings althoug I’ve read, clicked on the pictures to see details and felt blessed to know “they are doing it right”. It is wonderful to know there are couples who are starting married life with strong family support, faith in God and joy. You did a fabulous job pulling together the wedding details and have every right to be a bit sad to see her going – change is difficult. But blessing them and sending them off with UHaul of dreams is a good thing. Bless YOU – ain’t love grand?

  5. Mary Stump says:

    I feel your pain, I have the “baby” child living 11 hours from me. It might as well be half way around the world, but at least he’s not in some war zone and that is comforting. I am fortunate to have my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter here in town; both of them are in law enforcement so my granddaughter keeps me straight. It’s still your “loss” of sorts but she’ll be home soon. Her back is lovely as I’m sure her face is and he is such a handsome “new son”. Congratulations! I’m a wedding planner by trade so I’m sure you’re exhausted–rest!

  6. Awwwh… It was great seeing pictures from the wedding, but I can understand how there’s a sadness mixed into the happiness for you. I’m pregnant with my first baby (a boy) right now and often daydream about how quickly life passes by … to think that this baby I’m carrying will someday grow up to love another is amazing.

  7. I can’t imagine! I’m all choked up thinking about what awaits me in just ten short years. I’ve only had the pleasure of being my children’s mama for 2.5 years…and yet I face them leaving the coop in just slightly more than 10 years time. My twins turned 8 last month and ‘the short one’ will be seven in April. Every single day I try to hold on and let go at the same time. I’m trying to hold on to every single minute but let go and let them grow up. It is hard!

    My prayer is that these few months will fly for you and that they will soon be settled close enough by so that you can be the Mom they are going to need in the years to come…but give them their room to grow too!

    Congrats on the new son! 😉

  8. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful daughter! You have such wisdom Mary. I only hope I do just as well when my boys are ready. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. You did an amazing job in just 5 weeks!

  9. And just like that, they go.

    My oldest is only 9 and so I push visions of this day far away…..
    but reading yours reminds me to capture every. second.

    Thank you.

  10. Guard Wife says:

    It all goes so fast. My eyes sting & my heart hurts reading your poignant words that every mom with a daughter can understand (even if those daughters are 5 & 10). Your connection is stronger than the miles & you will find new ways to make it remain just as strong.

  11. Oh Mary. You are teaching me so much – your beautiful, earnest, loving, gentle and open-hearted sharing of these days of watching your lovely Amanda (and your new lovely Ben) marry and make a new life for herself has made such a deep and hopefully longlasting impression on my Mama heart. I hope I can handle Bean’s eventual marriage and departure with such grace and love. I will pray for you and for the gorgeous happy couple (their love radiates – I can feel it coming out of my computer, I swear I can!) in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for blessing us all by bringing us with you in this personal and monumental time for you and your family.

  12. You’re describing exactly what I yearn for-and dread. I pray the next 3 months fly by.

  13. Waaaahhh… 🙁 Crying here! What sweet pictures of them, though! 🙂 Not looking forward to the day my little one moves away- thankfully I have many years. 🙂

  14. How beautiful! I read about this on Saturday and said a prayer for ya’ll. So sweet your recap. I have to Tweet it! 🙂

  15. oh gees. Now I’m all chocked up. My oldest is only 15 and I’m already having a hard time letting him grow up. I keep telling him to stop but he doesn’t listen;-) I’m going to be a reck the day my children start to marry. It’s all good but… it still hurts to set them free.
    It helps to remind me to speak gently, hug them more often, hold them a little closer and listen a little closer to there stories and dreams. Bless them in their journeys and bless us mushy mom’s.

  16. Mary, my heart hurts (and rejoices) for you. But as I was reading this post, I had an image of how precious this time will be for Ben and Amanda. Time away from family, friends, distractions. Time to learn to truly cleave to one another. I think as the years go by they will look back fondly on their first few months together as husband and wife. A time they truly got to know each other.

    But also praying for this time to go quickly for you.

  17. My eyes welled up. Thank you so very much for giving me the other perspective. I am the only child, married for a few years ,and my mom is being a bit… nostalgic, needy and frustrating. This helps me try to put myself in her shoes. I will try and continue to try to understand her. Because someday I’ll be there myself.

    Thank you.

  18. Beautiful, thanks for sharing. This “circle of life” thing is so bittersweet.

    At least now you can look forward to grandchildren 🙂

  19. Very sweet, I know you will thrive and there will become a new “normal” but my heart aches for you a bit. On our way home from the wedding I looked at Gabi and then said to Adam, “I’m glad she is a long way from this cross roads.” He nodded and then said, “I bet Mary and John felt like that just a short time a go though.”

    Yeah, I just can’t imagine!!

    Many hugs,

  20. *sniff* What a beautiful post, Mary. The pictures of the wedding were gorgeous. It looks like she and Ben are so completely in love with each other, and that will just grow and grow every day.

    I know you must be dreading her going in some ways, but so excited in others.

    Motherhood is a fascinating journey, isn’t it?

  21. This is really sweet. I am crying remembering when I married Josh and left home and moved 8 hours away. It was so good, but yet so hard at the same time.

    They look very happy together!!! 🙂

  22. Thank you for sharing your mother’s heart to us other mothers in the blogosphere.

  23. That made me teary…beautiful words, Mary. And a beautiful heart that shares them.

  24. This makes me well up a little bit. Thank you for sharing this. They do look very happy together =)

  25. You are a wonderful mother – and have raised a beautiful daughter inside and out . . . and you have awesome super powers because you have put together and amazing wedding in 5 FIVE! weeks . . . and when you kept writing about all the wedding stuff all I could think was, “relax, they just got engaged, you have time!” HAHA! Your next book needs to be about putting on a beautiful, frugal, speed wedding!

  26. Such a beautiful post. I am struck by your beautiful choice of the word “going” because going is not the same thing as leaving.

    I wish Amanda and Ben all the best as they go on their new journey together.

  27. Oh how beautiful. I think I tried to post something here earlier and it just wouldn’t go.

    My “baby” girl is 13…and waaay too old for her age. My “baby” boy is 16.

    It all happens too fast, doesn’t it.


    How wonderful, though. How very wonderful.

  28. She is going, but hey, she is coming back. How lucky are you that they are not staying 7 hours away permanently?! You have got to love them for wanting to come back. It will fly and she will be so grown up when she returns and you and her will be wonderful

  29. oh goodness… congratulations to all – and some ((hugs)) for Mary. That day is looming closer than I’d like for me (my eldest will be 18 this year) and posts like these give me a little glimpse into my future.

    I thought of you on Saturday! I’ve been watching the paper for an announcement, but I’ve missed it if it ran.

  30. Your post brings tears to my eyes for both of my mother’s daughters are very far away (she is Indiana… I am in Colorado and my sister is in California). Believe me, it’s hard for the kid who moves away too… but God willing you won’t be parted for long.

  31. Such a beautiful bride! And Mama seems to be handling all the “going” rather well. Seven hours of mountain roads can’t separate your love. It’s just time and a bit of distance. She’ll always be your little girl.

    Best wishes for the happy couple!

  32. I am glad I am not the only one who is sentimental. When our oldest, at 21, moved 12 hours away with her husband she left a burned cd with her little sister who was 14. She and I listened to it while I was driving her to school and we were such blubbering babies we had to kill some time window shopping before I could drop her off. Here it is: My Sister by Reba