Yes, we have another wedding on the horizon. January 15th.
Just for fun, I’m only using photos I’ve featured on the blog over the years (plus a few from the day they got engaged).
September 2010, Skyline Homecoming and Stefan’s first formal dance. He invited Heather, the adorable redhead up the street and one of his closest friends. The oldest of six girls, Heather impressed us with her humor, her grace, her kindness, even while in elementary school. Our families hiked, ate dinner and held game nights together over the years and I admire her parents as much as anyone I know.
So much so, that when I wrote an article on fathers for the Deseret News, Rich was my first interview. Energetic, smart and hardworking, Rich treats each daughter as an individual while encouraging them to pursue their strengths. He’s also generous with his physician skills and we’ve called him more than once for emergency help (including stitching up Stefan’s knee this summer).
Even on pioneer trek they always had a ready smile and a listening ear. I’ve rarely met anyone with empathy and wisdom equal to Elizabeth. She’s the person who notices when you’re down and sends a kind note. Everyone matters to Elizabeth; especially her children.
And Heather’s just like her. In January, I had a rough day at church. Although I thought no one noticed, I later received a text from Heather — newly returned from her mission to Canada– expressing her love and concern. Trust me, her note wasn’t an effort to ingratiate herself to Stefan; although they’d dated off and on in high school and even college, neither of them thought they’d date after their missions.
When he turned sixteen, Stefan, in his thoughtful, almost analytical way, asked me, “How can I avoid dating drama?”
“That’s easy,” I answered, “don’t date.”
We talked (and still talk) about being kind and considerate, but dating carries an inevitable degree of heartache. While Heather was Stefan’s first date, first kiss, first love, they both dated several people over the years. When they began spending time together again this fall, Stefan told me, “I’ve looked around, I’ve learned a lot, I’m ready to make a decision.”
So it shouldn’t have surprised me (and really it didn’t) when he started looking for engagement rings just a few weeks later.
On Heather’s 22nd birthday, October 30th, our families met to wander through the corn maze together. By this time, everyone knew they were getting married, they’d chosen a date, but Stefan needed to say the words.
Although we’ve been friends for years, everything felt different– we felt like family.
In case you feel like you’re seeing double, Marin is Heather’s younger sister by almost four years. She’s also one of Hansie’s best friends and Lizzy’s roommate at BYU.
For Marin and Lizzy, this may be the happiest event of their entire lives. Their energy and enthusiasm alone might be enough to power all the wedding preparations.
And can you imagine Mary’s delight at gaining six new sisters?
While Heather was in Young Women’s, I was lucky enough to be her leader and she’s always been a friend I admired and trusted. I’m thrilled Stefan chose so well. For us, adding Sammie and Heather to our family has been no loss, 100% gain. They bring joy and goodness and love.
After the corn maze and the birthday dinner and cake, Stefan took Heather on a walk. He pulled out a matryoshka doll and explained, “At the end of my mission, I bought one for my mom, one for my sister and one for my future wife.” Heather opened the doll to admire the smaller dolls inside and something fell to the ground.
It became the perfect moment to drop onto one knee, retrieve the ring and ask the question.
I don’t know exactly what he said. But I know her reply.
So, we’ve won the lottery twice on daughters-in-law. It’s not a blessing we take lightly. As Sammie’s dad says, “We’ve spent years praying that someone, somewhere is raising a boy or girl with kindness, intelligence and joy to marry our own sons and daughter.” And for us, those parents were right up the street and joining us on Sunday walks.
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” C.S. Lewis