First of all, before I go on and on about Drew and Danica, I just want to thank you for being here. Thank you for loving and encouraging Drew and Dani as they take this next step in their relationship. Thank you for praying and coming alongside. The people in this room have been handpicked by D + D (or D2 as I refer to them in print) for a reason. They love you. Thank you for loving them back.
AND WOW. It takes an army to get a wedding put together. Special thanks to the team who set up this room this morning. Cheryl, Paul, Alice, Taryn, Isaac, Holly and Cole. You are all rock stars. Thank you for sacrificing your time this morning. This room? Looks magical.
AND THANK YOU CHAD ROBERTS FOR ALL THE STUMPS, candle holders and wood pieces. You are amazing.
Thanks for the hardworking bridesmaids who kept Dani sane and hydrated through these past 10 months. I've admired your relationships over the years and I'm glad Danica has y'all in her life.
Thanks to Drew's groomsmen for doing what you do. I'm not totally sure how you guys have shown support, but I'm glad you're here and I'm grateful that Drew has all of you in his life.
Thanks to my mom for opening her home up, over and over, to me, my kids, their friends. Thanks, mom, for hosting all the big events, from the engagement party to the rehearsal dinner to the dressing of the bride this morning.
And special thanks to my friends who got me to this place, today. Haha. It's takes a lot of caring folk to help a Mother Of The Groom get her act together. From cooking, baking, setting up, and serving last night's rehearsal dinner to volunteering to help move things from there to here, THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. I owe you all big time. Now that I know what weddings are all about, I'll try harder to be more than The Friend With The Camera.
I love being a mom.
I love Drew.
And I love being Drew’s mom.
And I love Danica.
And I love Danica.
And I have had the most fun watching their relationship unfold.
From those early days when she turned 16 and he was a nervous lad planning on asking her to be his girlfriend, to evenings in Murrayville when they'd snuggle on the world's ugliest couch watching TV, to those evenings they sat at my table making things, to our Canuck's dates, to me chauffeuring them up and down the mountain so they could snowboard and then kiss noisily in my backseat... I have loved every minute.
But before there was a Drew And Danica, there was a Drew. Who like his brothers, it was my great joy to parent. And who, like his brothers, was the subject of many blog posts:
Oh my goodness, Poor Drew.
There I sat on my kitchen floor with my head under the sink looking for the blasted button to restart my broken garburator which has my drain smelling like someone took a crap in it.
I’ve been holding it all in for a few days… and I couldn’t contain the flood any longer.
“Are you crying mom?” he asked.
“Why are you sad?” he wondered.
“It’s not just one thing. It’s a couple.” I replied.
“Can I do something?” he offered.
“Just help me with these dishes and I’ll be fine.”
“Would you rather wash or dry?” I asked as I filled up the sink.
So with my hands in hot soapy water, I just let the tears flow as Drew chatted about things he did the past few days.
Drew’s gentle smile has an uncanny way of restoring light to a gloomy day.
He was supposed to be at my mom’s place for night tonight. But an unexpected invitation to spend at a friend’s house has him right where I need him.
“Hey, look mom,” he said as we stood side by side at the sink. “It’s a full moon tonight. Your favourite. You should go outside for a few minutes and just look at it.”
(The night before I started a new job)
night I was in bed by determined to fall asleep immediately, regardless of the number of laps my circling thoughts were doing in my head.
“Mom?” Drew whispers. “I can’t sleep.”
“Do you wanna snuggle in with me?”
“Yes. But you havta fall asleep right away…”
He runs back to his room to get his fan, his glass of water, his favourite pillow. He settles in right beside me and wants to talk.
“Is it OK if I ask you a few questions?”
Knowing he will not fall asleep with questions burning in his mind, I said, “OK. Just a few.”
“What happens if I get sick? If you have a job, who will look after me?”
“I will. I’ll tell them I have to stay with you. But let’s try and stay real healthy for the next couple of weeks, OK?”
“Can you scratch my back?”
While I’m lazily scratching, he asks, “If we get a really big bill, and we don’t have the money to pay for it, will we go on welfare?”
“No. We won’t.”
“Will nan and bups pay it for us?”
"No, I’ve arranged to borrow money from the bank.”
“The bank? How can you pay that back? What happens if you die? Then me and my brothers have to pay them back?”
“I will pay it back. Every month a little bit will get paid off. I’m not dying.”
My arm is tired so I’ve stopped scratching, and I’ve rolled over onto my other side.
“Mom? Can’t you turn this way? I like to see your beautiful face.”
I heave myself back onto my right side and he interlocks his fingers with mine.
“The hairs are starting to grow back, aren’t they?” he observes as he touches my forearm. “Is your chin still all bumpy?”
“No, it’s getting better. Can you go to sleep now?”
“Mom? What are you going to do at your job ? Can I ever come and see you there? What happens if Mrs. Rubuliak is late in the morning? Are you going to go to work and leave me home by myself? What time are you going to pick me up after school? Everything’s going to be different, isn’t it?”
Clearly he was no where near falling asleep… his mind was on overdrive, just like mine. Even though his eyes are wide open, he is quiet for awhile. Then he speaks again.
“Wow. That must’ve been, like 10 minutes. Don’t think I’ve ever prayed that long before.”
Finally, at he drifts off sharing my pillow and snuggled up close, leaving me to obsess by myself.
At Max wanders in. “Mom? You still awake?”
“Do you have any Tums?”
“Have you slept yet?”
We both go into my bathroom, chatting while we look for some antacids.
He heads back to his room, and as I slip back into my ridiculously creaky bed, Drew wakes. “What did Max want? Is he OK? Is he worried too?”
“He’s fine, go back to sleep.”
“Are you driving Clint to school?”
“Not now. I’ll do in a few hours. Maybe after we’ve all slept.”
“Don’t leave me home by myself. Make sure you wake me up and take me along.”
I lay there for another hour. Worrying. Praying. Wishing I were different. Hoping I can somehow be a decent mom as well as a worthy employee.
I must have fallen asleep around , cuz Drew woke me up.
“Mom? Maybe you should roll over the other way now. You are starting to snore and your breath stinks.”
“Not the girls.”
I was wondering when it would happen.
Clint stopped in grade 2. Max in grade 4. Drew is in grade 5 and this is the year.
“I’ll give Valentine’s to the guys only.”
With his class list before him, he personalized the SpongeBob Valentines, crossing out some words and adding others.
“How should I attach the Smartie packages?” he wondered.
“How about using the hot glue gun?” I suggested.
Looking forward to squeezing a trigger, he plugged it in and waited for it to heat up.
The cord wasn’t long enough to reach the table, so he set up a chair as his workspace. But there was a lamp’s cord criss crossing the chair, and he’s left handed, and there were 20 cards and boxes to attach to each other, and he looked overwhelmed. So I handed him one set to glue first.
“Oh! Could this be a teamwork thing, mom?”
“OK. That’s good. Some things just work out better when you work as a team and cooperate with each other.”
He picks up his weapon, squeezes the trigger and a blob of hot glue lands on the Smartie box. As he presses the box onto the card, covering up SpongeBob's square pants, he continues “Have you tried something like this at work? You know, the teamwork approach? Maybe you want to tell everyone about it…It might just make things easier for you all.”
Drew is who he is because he’s had a squad of people shaping him into the friendly, caring, sensitive, wise, man he’s become.
Thank you Kevin Snyder for being our friend for forever. You called the morning of 911 to see how Drew was processing the news. Your open door policy when you were living in the barn at the farm was appreciated and probably abused by a little guy who loved hanging out with you. Thank you for sharing your life, for being our personal pastor, and for marrying my boy to his girl today.
Thank you Dave Hiebert for teaching Drew how to weld. Those evenings in your garage had a lasting effect on him. You took time, each week, to get to know my boy. You encouraged him, taught him some manly garage skills and have been a encouraging him to get married for years. Thank you.
Thank you Mandi Koop. When I was going through photo albums looking for pictures for the slide show, I was reminded again, how much time you and Drew spent together. You have been a good friend, a loving cousin, a prayer warrior and a great supporter of his relationship with Dani. Thank you for being his friend.
Clint and Max. Your little brother has been the recipient of your abuse, your teasing, your sarcasm, your love, your support, your guidance, your friendship, your sense of humor. I remember, when Drew was 13 or 14, realizing that my influence was being overshadowed by yours. He watched and learned and tried to keep up with you his whole life. And you both were brilliant at taking him along for the ride. You were generous in sharing your lives with him; so much so that the years between you blurred as he considered your friends his friends. Thank you for help in forming him into the man he’s become.
My dad; Bups. He would be so very proud of Drew today. He loved all his grandkids with abandon, but he probably logged in the most time with Drew. They would have overnighters, sleeping together on the floor in the family room, watching TV, eating junk food, most weekends. Their relationship wasn’t a typical grandpa/grandson relationship; it was so much deeper. Drew’s life had stability and joy and outrageous adventures because Bups was in it.
Thank you Mark and Sherry for providing him with a home where he was loved unconditionally. He grew up benefitting from having two homes; thank you for sharing the work and the joy of raising him.
I have been praying for Drew’s wife and her family for 22 years, not knowing who they’d be. Turns out, it was the Stapletons.
THANKYOU, THANK YOU, Lorne and Christine. Christine, my kid has eaten your food, sat at your table, taken a spot on your couch for years and years. Thank you for opening your home and your heart to him. And Lorne? Oh my goodness, you have gone above and beyond in showing affection to Drew. He has won the Father-In-Law lottery with you and has learned so much from you because of your patience, your wisdom, your acceptance, your conversations, your sensitivity, your love. Thank you. A million times, thank you. Thank you for loving him.
And Danica. Danica you are precious and strong and principled and talented and creative and wise and fearless and positive and faith-filled and beautiful and loving and gentle and warm and you love Jesus. Drew is a better person because you love him.
Welcome into my family, Danica. You are my daughter, a treasured gift from God and you are my friend. I love you.