If I would have known that one day, one day that was not far off from the moment I first met you all, you would be leaving us I might not have allowed myself to love you so much. But that was then and this is now and the damage is done for I do love you all so very much.
You came into our lives one summer day in June - the house was crazy with kids and dinner being placed on the table. You showed up, Brent, being so very Brent-like - passionate about the church, passionate about what was happening. You seemed not to even take in the chaos that was happening around you but were just very intent on getting your ideas and thoughts across. You were doing what you do best, getting us excited about what you are excited about. You listened, answered questions and concerns. Then one of the last things you said was........you’re going to love my wife. It still makes me cry.
I cry because you were right. I do love your wife. Oh, Ashley, finding you was like finding the perfect pair of jeans. You aren’t quite sure what you are looking for but the moment you have them on you know. They just fit. They feel right. They make you feel good. You think if the house is burning down around me - forget the jewels, forget the books, forget all else but those perfect jeans because you never know when you are going to find another perfect pair.
And can I tell you, Ashley, that I still can’t quite believe that my perfect fit came in the form of you? You are so very many things that I am not. I marvel at your beauty and grace. I marvel at your kindness - those questions of yours that invite everyone into your world. I marvel at how you seem to be in awe of the smallest thing - you make me feel as if I must be some kind of modern day super hero because I can get dinner on the table. I marvel at how you are always available – day or night, by text or telephone. I marvel at how you have allowed us to become part of your life, so easily and so effortlessly.
I will miss you all more than you know (although the number of times I have cried when I am around you should give you a hint, even going so far as to cry at your feet :). I will miss riding around town with Hadley in the backseat. I will miss you slapping Brent’s chair back in place for the 1000th time. I will miss all the years I looked forward to Hadley growing with Francesca, the friendship that hopefully would have formed after the years of hitting, not sharing and screaming that we would have inevitably had to endure. I will miss those looks that say so much of THE EXACT SAME THING I was thinking :) I will miss Brent’s wisdom. I will miss that passion you have, Brent. I will miss raising our families together, Ashley.
BUT......BUT.........I know that I have not lost you all forever. I know that you, indeed, are forever friends. Texts, e-mails and phone calls will be made and visits will be insisted on. Moving will not rid you of us. We are with you all forever; the imprint, the impact you made on us too lasting to ever allow us to let you go so easily. We love you. We will miss you but feel so very blessed that we were a stop along the way, along this path that God has placed you on. Know that we will be with you wherever He may lead - our prayers, our thoughts, our love.