My stomach quivered with nerves. I put Caleb’s cereal bowl down for him; it rattled against the counter.
“Now, don’t dilly dally over that, Caleb. You’ve still got to get dressed.” I can’t believe it’s really here.
“Is Parker gonna live here now?”
“Yep.” Really, he’d stopped sleeping at his rental some time ago, but we hadn’t made the move official, with Caleb or Parker’s landlord. We were moving his things over here and to a storage unit in bits and pieces. But, after today, it would be official.
“Why didn’t he stay last night?”
“Well,” I said, taking a seat next to him. “It’s tradition for the bride and groom not to see each other before the wedding.”
Caleb scrunched up his face. “But you have seen him, Mama.”
I laughed softly. “It’s just for twenty-four hours before the wedding. You know how long that is, right?”
The boy nodded. “A day. But why?”
“It’s bad luck to see each other.” I held up my hands as my inquisitive son opened his mouth. “I don’t know why. It’s just a superstition.”
“It sounds silly to me,” he said matter-of-factly, swirling his spoon through his bowl.
“It is kinda silly,” I agreed with a smile. This whole conversation was good for my nerves; just talking was helping me calm down. I took a steadying breath. What did I have to be nervous about? I was soon going to marry the man of my dreams. Excitement flickered and started to replace the nerves in my belly.
“Knock knock.” Mom’s voice came over from the hallway. A moment later, she walked into view. “Are you two almost ready?”
“Kiddo’s just finishing breakfast. Did you get the dress?”
My mother nodded. “It’s flawless.”
I exhaled in relief. “Thank God.” Though I’d had the dress for some time now – I’d gotten an amazing deal on it at a sale – just yesterday, I’d discovered a small tear in one of the seams. I’d called Mom frantically, and we’d managed to find a seamstress we could take it to for an emergency repair. I’d been so busy being nervous about the wedding itself, I’d almost forgotten to be terrified about not having a dress. The night before, I’d even gone to sleep wondering if my bridesmaid’s dress from Josh’s wedding would work as a wedding gown.
“You better get a move on, though. We need to get there plenty early so you can get dressed.”
I nodded and turned to Caleb, who was wiping milk from his face after slurping it out of the bowl. “Done? Okay, go brush your teeth.” I got up to wash the bowl, but Mom was faster than me.
“You, too,” she commanded.
“Yes, Mom.” It wasn’t like there was room for more than a single person at once in the bathroom. I’d have to wait. “Did you see Paula when you were downstairs?”
Mom dried her hands and shook her head. “Why?”
“She hasn’t been doing so well lately.” Over the years, I’d taken her to a handful of doctor’s appointments; in the last six months, Parker and I had both had to take turns getting her to one doctor or another. “She really wants to go to the wedding. I tried to convince her she doesn’t need the excitement, though, so I’m hoping she might just decide against it now.”
Mom frowned softly. “I’ll go check on her after I get Caleb dressed.”
“You don’t have to do any of that,” I told her.
She just smiled and squeezed past me when the bathroom door opened. “Let’s get you ready, little man.” She and Caleb disappeared into his bedroom.
I shook my head at her while simultaneously thanking a higher power for giving me a mother like her.
A few minutes later, I left the bathroom with minty-fresh breath. I found Caleb in the living room dressed in his tiny rented tux. I grinned at him. “Well, aren’t you handsome?”
He huffed and fussed with his jacket. “I don’t like this thing.” He’d had the same complaint during Josh’s wedding.
“You can change as soon as the pictures are taken,” I promised him.
Mom stepped out of the stairwell and entered the living room. “Paula’s going. She’s ready now, so we’re all going to ride to the church together.” I didn’t have to ask if she’d keep an eye on the elderly woman for me; that was just my mother.
“Thank you, Mom.” I shifted nervously on my feet. The butterflies had returned. “It’s time, huh?”
When Mom smiled, her eyes sparkled. “Sure is.” Her voice was thick as she spoke.
“I can’t believe it’s here,” I said quietly, echoing my earlier thoughts.
Mom took both of my hands in hers. “I love you so much, baby girl.” She pulled me into a tight hug.
As my mother held me, I had to resist the urge to burst into tears. Never – I had never thought that this day would come or that I could be so happy.
When we separated, we both had to dab at our eyes. I sniffed and fanned my eyes to dry them. “Alright, it’s way too early to get weepy. Let’s save it for the ceremony.”
A laugh hiccupped from Mom’s throat. “You’re right.” She smiled broadly. “Let’s go.”