I’m not quite sure how to start this one.
How do you explain a weekend like that, filled with that much love and celebration?
I’m gonna give it a try…
Friday, July 27th 2012
My glowing, British as ever, soon-to-be-retired father has turned 66. If you haven’t gotten to know the Doctor Reverend Victor Munn Wilson, you should. Yes, I’m his daughter and a little biased, but good gracious he’s an amazing human being. He truly was born for his role as a dedicated and heartfelt Pastor, for his role as the best father that my sister and I could’ve ever asked for, for his role as a loving husband to my beautiful southern belle of a momma, and for his role as a very good friend to all others who have touched his heart and made him roar with laughter over the years. Sean and I raced up to Pennsylvania to join Mom and Carolyn (my sister who had flown in from SC that afternoon) to celebrate his birthday on the night of London’s Olympic opening ceremony. What a night for him. Sean and I bought him a new book about natural navigation (the stars, wind, moon, animal tracks) and how nature can guide your way. Pretty interesting stuff, and something that fits with his upcoming retirement quite well. We also bought him one of those book clips that lights up the page. He’ll spend hours reading, learning, and soaking up every last bit of knowledge from books…now he has something to keep the light on for him! And last but not least…cigars. Happy retirement, Dad.
Saturday, July 28th 2012
7:30 a.m. I awoke with WAY too much joy in my heart to fall back asleep. “Get up, Katherine,” I told myself. So I tip-toed along the creaky hardwood floor as the rest of the house kept sleeping. Both carefully and thoughtfully I crept down the stairs, knowing that this would be my last full day in my childhood home. Mom & Dad will be moving to their new, beautiful home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in only a few days. In the kitchen I turn to the coffee pot, and it’s FULL! Carolyn’s been here! She sneaks around from the dining room into the kitchen and we hug, giggle, and jump right into discussing the craziness of this home of ours no longer being “ours” anymore. The next hour, I got to FINALLY catch up, face to face with my sister. I miss her. She and I are so similar, and it’s very hard to live so far away from her, her beautiful children and her wonderful husband. We catch up over coffee, face to face, for the first time in a long time. Then….we decided to take a walk. The walk lead us all throughout the towns of Devon and Berwyn, and I’m pretty sure that we woke up all of its residents with our unstoppable laughter. Discussing anything from my upcoming wedding, to her precious children, and somehow even over to what our ideal karaoke song would be if given the opportunity to proudly belt it out in public. We decided to take our walk on a breathtaking detour through Jenkins Arboretum before heading back home. If you haven’t been…please go. It’s such an uplifting place.
My Pennsylvania Bridal Shower. “So THIS is what it feels like to be a bride!” I thought to myself. What a feeling. Momma, Carolyn, Cynthia, all of my lovely ladies of St. John’s Church who were there, my very dear friends who live in Pennsylvania, and my sweet ladies of Maryland’s Eastern Shore who drove up for this…I can’t thank you enough for that special afternoon. Between all of the love, the hugs, the sweet words of best wishes and wisdom, the laughter, and the BEAUTIFUL gifts…I was a hot mess!!! I really did try to keep my tears of love and thankfulness back, but it wasn’t possible. The tears started to attempt a breakout right around the time that Cynthia, a dear friend of our family and the sensational lady who hosted this shower, offered a prayer before the luncheon. My friends who have known me for years, my family, my Pediatritian growing up, my Confirmation Class mentor, my Sunday School teachers, and many more of my inspirations had taken over the entire living room, holding hands in prayer. “Amen” was said softly in unison between all of these dear ladies, only to look up at my teary eyes. It was gonna be that kind of day. So much love and appreciation that I can’t keep it in!
My next moment was brought on by my Momma. I can’t imagine life without a Mother like her. She has taught me that “happiness is a choice,” that joyfulness doesn’t need to be kept in a socially appropriate cage (if you’re joyful, girrrrlll you let it SHINE!), how to be a lady, how to be sassy but classy, and of course…how to be proud of the woman that I am. Something happend to me when I opened up her present, my very first FULL set of our very own china pattern…but I just broke down. It was the most beautiful mother to daughter gift, and it seemed to symbolize so much between us. I love you, Momma!
Many moments of explosive laughter, tears of joy, and numerous hugs later, Sean came in and stole the hearts of all ages in there. Luckily, he already has mine 🙂
After coming home to rest, sorting through piles and piles of our Grandmother’s linens, and Momma’s keep sakes, we all gathered for “the last supper” at the table. Dad to my left, Sean to my right. Momma by the window’s side of the head of the table, and Carolyn across from me. I’ll miss those meals in that room, but the beautiful thing about family is that there will be many more meals…the room is simply its venue. I’ll be just fine.
Around 8 o’clock we met up with friends in the PA area for drinks at Berwyn Tavern. It was such a refreshing night between a beautifully random assortment of my favorite people. Love you guys.
Sunday, July 30th 2012
How do you get ready for your father’s final sermon, and a final service with the church that watched you grow up since you were 7 years old? It was weird that morning, getting ready for the last time. Everything appeared the same. Mom’s precious arrangement of breakfast for us was messed up as we ran through in the kitchen like mayhem that morning. The iron was hot and ready to go, typically only used by mom since she can iron even the most difficult pattern without a single wrinkle. Someone’s in the shower, someone else has the hair drier going, someone smells toast burning, and someone else is searching for their car keys. I guess that usual Sunday morning mayhem (at least when Carolyn and I were living there) made the sad morning feel a bit more comforted.
Between walking into church, the hugs from members passing out bulletins, and the jam-packed pews on that summer’s morning … it got to Carolyn first. I saw it in her eyes, it was going to be a tearful goodbye that morning. We sat in the front row (not usual for us, but it was kind of fitting for that final service). I was SO proud and grateful to have my handsome Sean holding my hand that morning. He’s such a rock for me. He truly loves that church too, and it meant so much to my family and the congregation that he was there. Dad’s sermon was … perfect. I don’t know how else to describe it. But you wanna know who describes it perfectly? Award winning author, and dear friend to our family, Beth Kephart, in her beautiful post: A final Sunday with the Wilsons. Read it. And please, read everything she has ever written if you haven’t already. She’s sensational. I will say one thing about Dad’s sermon though…and Beth says this too in her post…he took a careful pause at the right moment of his final farewell, looked down at mom, his “Janie-belle,” and said:
Jane, will you grow old with me?
“Love you’s, and “thank you’s” to all of you who were up there this past weekend. Wherever you are with your life (retirement, grad school, new jobs, uncertain but exciting new paths, etc.), thank you for being apart of mine.
Goodbye, 515 Forest Hills…thanks for being my home for over 20 years
Happy living, loving, and laughing!