I spent the past week in Virginia. I felt so many feels. Happy, sad, offended, accepted, loved, awkward…all the feels. But above all the reigning emotion was that of gratitude.
Finally met Clay’s sister, her husband, and their child. I now love that child, and that child now knows my name. I met one of the women who helped raise Clay. Her name is Naomi. And I ate a slice of her lemon bundt cake. It was perfect. I also saw the inside of her husband’s shop, which is the size of a small house, where he restores grass-cutting tractors from the ’70s.
There was so much lush green everywhere, just breath-taking. I got to enjoy the breeze on a giant porch, built by Clay’s uncle. I mean, it was stupid good.
A list of stupid good things. Clay’s family threw a surprise dessert party for us, popped champagne for us, and went around telling embarrassing stories about Clay. I got to sit there, eat dessert, and laugh. Clay’s mom made us a quilt, gave me stationary with my new name on it—“Amy L. Powers” and gave me seven wrapped gifts, one to open each day until the wedding. She is so ridiculous I will die. Clay’s cousin gifted me with a plate from her mother’s wedding collection, which was so special because her mother passed not too long ago. The emotions tied to L & J’s passing are raw, two years later. Clay’s mother’s friend Barb is throwing a party at Clay’s grandma’s house on Saturday, at the same time as our wedding, since they cannot come. Barb is going to the dollar store to buy decorations, and even asked what my wedding colors were to coordinate. They will blow bubbles on Buttermilk Lane for us. Clay’s grandma gave me a brooch with her initials on it, to pin to my bouquet when I walk down the aisle. We got five cards from different people, filled with gift cards and cash. Well, it’s kind of ridiculous the generosity that was shown.
What really made me feel emotional as we left Virginia was that beyond this tangible, material generosity, I get to “reap” the goodness of all the love that all these people have poured into Clay over all these years. And it is a reaping, a harvest, a gathering, from which I receive the lion’s share. This sentiment weighed heavy on me, as I felt the goodness of the Lord so fully.
I got the idea that I want to be a carpenter after seeing the cabin that Clay’s uncle built. It’s beautiful, so thoughtfully crafted, so well made. Things like that don’t exist in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Clay’s 90-year-old grandmother KK has two living siblings, one who is older and one who is younger. The younger sibling stood up and delivered a speech about KK filled with hilarious stories and I got the idea that I could be like that when I got old too—filling my space, living it well, refusing to shrink away.
And we’ll leave it at that. I felt awkward and shy through it all, and had the occasional realization that I’m asian, but what a crazy good decision it was to take this trip a week before we wed.