Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tucker and Karli: A Four-Week Whirlwind

I don't think it's my place to go into all the private details of the past four weeks since Tucker returned from his mission, but I do want to share what these last four weeks have been like through my eyes.

Having a son return home from a mission is a singular experience--one I don't have the words or ability to explain. Even as I write, tears prick my eyes and joy fills my heart at the memory of that special day, a day that made all 730 days before it worth every moment I missed him.

When he returned, Tucker quickly adjusted back into life with our family, but he was rarely alone.

"Tucker" quickly became "Tucker and Karli."

I've been down this married child road once before--and I consider myself one of the luckiest moms in the world to have a son-in-law like our Sam. His devotion to my daughter and his children is genuine and good, and I am often brought to my knees with gratitude for all he does for them.

However, mothers have unique relationships with their sons.  It is so tender to know that you are the only girl they've ever loved, the only girl who's ever held their little boy heart in your hand.

When Tucker came home, I knew he would return a man, and as much as I understood about his relationship with Karli, and as much as I knew in my head where life would take them--together--I don't think my heart was completely ready to be replaced so quickly.

And it was quick. Each day led to light-year progressions in their seven-year relationship.  I thought things would go quickly, and I was right.  Thankfully, my son willingly included me.

Tucker confided in me some of his fears for the future and many of his dreams.  He consulted with me about when would be the best time to propose and how to do it.  We spent late nights talking and discussing and planning--talking like adults.  I will never forget those nights and the time I got to spend alone with my grown son--now not only as his mother, but also as his friend.  I got to know him as the adult he had become over the past two years, and I couldn't have been more impressed.

When he asked me to accompany him while he went ring shopping, I was elated. That was the day when I saw him as an adult. Although I was needed for opinion and advice, he negotiated politely and well, reminding me so much of Brad as he settled on the perfect ring at a fair price.  I will look back on that day fondly for many years to come.

Now, the formal proposal is over, the date is set (September 20th), the temple is reserved, the reception hall is preparing (our yard).  Karli left for Brussels, Belgium, last Saturday--she's spending ten all-expense-paid weeks working and traveling through Europe.  Tucker left last Sunday for Provo to work as an EFY counselor for the next four weeks. Then he'll be home for a few more weeks before school and his new life take him away. I couldn't be happier for both of them--truly a match made in heaven.

As hard as it is to see your children grow up and leave the nest forever, I take solace in the realization that although I'm being replaced as number one in his heart, I will always be the first one to have been there.

The first to care for him, and most importantly, the first to love him.


  1. Jen, I love your perspective. I only hope to be as gracious someday!

  2. So sweet! I'm scared for those days ahead of me as I have four sons to go through this with. I hope that I can handle it with as much grace and dignity as you have, and fortunately, as my mother-in-law had. It's wonderful to be the daughter-in-law when a son has had a wonderful relationship with his mother. Good luck to you and to them as they spend the next ten weeks apart!

  3. My oldest son invited me to go ring shopping with him too. I loved every minute of it and thought he chose a perfectly beautiful ring for the love of his life.
    It is amazing how you feel when you get to those moments in life...somedays I want Do-Overs with my first born, because he was such a joyous little guy. It's hard to let go, even as exciting as it is to watch our kids grow up and become adults that we love too. I adore my Daughter-In-Love and think my son is one lucky guy to have her! Best Best Wishes for Tucker and Karli!

  4. Aww, Jen, reading from your perspective makes me wish that I had a son. Even though Tucker is all grown up and ready to start a family of his own now, he will always be your little boy in your heart. Besides, it's not so much that he's leaving the nest but bringing home a new family member :)

  5. Brought tears to my eyes - it hasn't been so long since my youngest son and I were going through the same thing. It was bittersweet to realize he had grown up, but so, so sweet to see HOW he had grown up. I got to go ring shopping with him too.

  6. Beautiful. And I love that they are high school sweethearts. How often does that happen? *sigh*


  7. so so sweet. thanks for sharing the story, so fun to read:)