Exciting days ahead!

Autumn is coming with its days of gold, its days of reverie and of you—oh, such delightful hours that my heart burns within me at the anticipation.”~Byron Caldwell Smith, in a letter to Kate Stephens

Autumn is a time of intense beauty and change — one of my favorite seasons. This September, in particular, will be a milestone for our family. Nate and Andrea are getting married at the end of this month, and we’re all shifting into high gear for the busy weeks ahead.

There are so many details in need of attention. Though I don’t have half the responsibilities of the bride’s mother, I have a list of things to do. Doug and I will soon finalize the flowers and our menu for the rehearsal dinner, for starters, and I’ll be selecting music for the bagpiper who’ll pipe us out of the church after the wedding ceremony. I also need to schedule my mother for a fancy hairdo and a manicure — in addition scheduling to my own.

In the midst of it all, my mother’s dementia is progressing. More changes to consider. While I was on a short vacation in Glen Arbor this week, I got three phone messages from the assisted living residence where Mom is staying. Apparently Mom had a series of anxiety attacks and wanted me to return home to take her to the hospital. Luckily, the nurse was able to get the attacks under control — and I was able to stay in northern Michigan for another two days.

All of this is a long way of explaining why I won’t be blogging or visiting Facebook as often as usual. For now, I’m focusing my attention on becoming part of a wonderful new family and gaining the dearest daughter-in-law ever.

Lately I’ve felt compelled to step back and take a deep breath; to savor it all privately. I want to pull down the old photo albums that documented the whirlwind days and years that brought us to this moment, then exhale a silent prayer of thanks. And in the days ahead, I look forward to gathering again with longtime friends, dear neighbors, and family members who’ve watched Nate and Andrea grow up and shared so many rich memories with us.

A son’s wedding is one of life’s most beautiful changes …. and I’m unable to put my feelings into words just yet. Wishing all of you a lovely fall season! — Cindy La Ferle

The perfect wedding dress

There is something about a wedding gown prettier than any other gown in the world.” –Douglas Jerrold

When my son, Nate, and his fiancee, Andrea, announced their engagement last July, their September 2012 wedding seemed ages away. But here we are, with six months left to go until the Big Day.

Working with Andrea’s mom, Matilda, we’ve spent the past few days meeting with the florist, mapping out the dance floor for the reception, debating the placement of the wedding cake, and discussing restaurant options for the post-wedding brunch. As parents of the groom, Doug and I are absolutely thrilled to be part of the decision-making.

Still, I have to admit that the loveliest part, so far, has been getting a preview of Andrea’s wedding dress. Last fall, I was touched when Andrea invited me to tag along when she started shopping for The Dress. Over the years I’ve logged more than a few hours with Andrea and Matilda at our local shopping mall — but this was, by far, our most memorable shopping trip.

According to suburban wedding lore, there’s a perfect dress for every bride. Andrea had a vision of what she wanted, and was lucky enough to find her dress at the first salon we visited in Birmingham.

Watching Andrea make her selection from rows of dresses embellished with yards of white lace, beaded satin, silk and tulle, I couldn’t help but recall the high school years when she posed with Nate in front of my camera in her prom gowns and homecoming dresses. How quickly those years flew.

And, yes, I blinked back a few happy tears as my future daughter-in-law stepped up to the small platform in front of the mirror at the bridal salon, moving rivers of silk behind her as the sales consultant offered opinions and made adjustments to the various gowns.

As every mother of a daughter knows, it’s a bittersweet privilege to witness a young lady blossom into a self-assured woman with a rich future ahead of her. Since I’ve never had a daughter of my own, I felt honored to be part of this special moment at the bridal salon.

Of course, Andrea looked like a dream in all of the gowns she tried on. But one in particular was, as everyone agreed, an elegant selection. The perfect dress for her.

When we returned for her first fitting last weekend (above), I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos with my iPhone — but I promised Andrea I wouldn’t share any close-ups or key details until after the wedding. Even so, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that she will be the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen. — Cindy La Ferle