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Dearest Kinley,

I’m not sure exactly what I expected for the months before you would marry, but I certainly never factored in a pandemic and international airport access being denied.

From the moment you mentioned the words “true love” and “wedding” my Uganda world began to spin into a whirlwind of what-ifs.

Could we be there? Would the Uganda airport open in time?

What would a wedding during Covid look like?

All of your plans began to evolve across the ocean while our input was delivered through text messages and moments shared over face time.

Truth: I cried many tears.

And so did you.

The distance between us loomed larger than before as I longed to be with you in person during such momentous decisions and occasions.

As usual, I did best when I followed your resilient lead.

We were navigating brand new territory and it felt weirder than I expected; but you cheerfully and persistently reminded me that 'this is us!'

New territory and all-things-different seem to maintain in our lives and your courage to embrace all the weird and wonderful taught me yet again.

I determined to be present with you in every way I could be and thanks to your commitment to the same, we did get to see you choose your dress and get your ring and celebrate your plans with your friends.

We booked venues sight-unseen and trusted in the recommendations of strangers with kind voices for all the details we began to check off the list.

And thankfully, our Uganda airport finally opened so that we could secure tickets to be with you for your covenant promise.

Gathering for your wedding in a new-to-me place felt appropriate as I faced a new-to-me relationship transition.

There were unknowns and also delightful surprises and the discovery did feel familiar in that we were navigating it as a family all together under one roof at last.

Listening to you and your siblings laughing long over board games in the borrowed basement and daily chats as we got manicures and finished shopping filled the days leading up to your promise with such comforting delight.

We had the joy of witnessing friends and family gather to celebrate with you with such dedicated love and fun.

In the early morning of your big day I listened to you and your bridesmaids talk as Lachan curled your hair. Later as we buttoned up your perfect dress we laughed over the amazement of being in the same room for this moment...each minute felt like a gift!

I loved riding with you to the chapel, seeing your brothers intentionally sharing in your day, watching your bridesmaids care for you so beautifully and seeing Trevor's face when you walked down the aisle.

We prayed and you promised with our friends and family sheltered in the rain drenched beauty of that chapel made of glass.

Such a beautiful day.

It was perfect because we were all represented there.

The shoulders we lean into and the arms who have embraced us and the hearts who knowingly celebrate the mercy of all of this.

I was thankful to change clothes that evening.

To tidy downstairs while Sally graciously cleaned the kitchen upstairs.

To sit long around a table hearing the hearts of Trin and Fiona. Crying tears with the Cash family as news from Grammy arrived that evening and eating bar-b-cue that my Money family provided as they gathered with us to comfort and to talk.

You texted later to tell me that you loved every minute of the day. We noted again that despite pandemics and lockdowns and so very many miles---we were there. With you. Witnessing, again, the beauty of your courageous life journey.

Several months have passed now and you are settled into your apartment and a new semester. I am eagerly anticipating a few more days together before my return to Uganda. I'm not sure how we will spend our time, but I know the message I want to repeat because I mean it.

I am so grateful for the beautiful gift of you and I celebrate the exorbitance of every now together, both as your mom and as your friend.

I am so incredibly proud of you.

Always, always in your corner,


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