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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson


Updated: May 25, 2022

Of course, we’ve known for a while. Mom and Dad, once again keeping secrets, until it becomes official. Which it did become, this week on a Thursday, down in Iowa. A scenic walk with a special young lady, and then… he reads a letter and takes a knee (admitting during a late-night phone call, one knee is quite awkward, which of course it is for my never-been-flexible third-born son) and then. The Ring. And The Question.

Her answer, of course, is “Yes.”

The first time we met Brina she showed up with Nils to help us move into our Red Oak house. A big blue pod, full up with all the things we’d wrapped in plastic and packed into boxes nearly a year and a half prior, and now adult sons and a wife and two girlfriends do the heavy lifting while Dad, just a week out from his hip replacement, gives instructions. Trip after trip with plastic containers filled way too heavy with a book collection, up our new rock stairway and then another flight of recently finished hand-crafted steps to a loft-view library, and it’s Brina I remember most, back-and-forth, load-after-load.

My favorite photo of moving day is Brina and Maisy, taking a break together, reading a book in the door of the pod. We didn’t know it then, but now, a half-year later, we’re adding a daughter, and Maisy’s already calling her Aunt.

They work together at Veritas Church in Cedar Rapids. He plays music and she leads studies and we’ve heard all the stories from co-workers convinced it was love-at-first-sight. But not the sappy love of romance novels, this was more of an instant kinship born of inside jokes and competitive spirits. Brina and Nils were made for each other. And they’ll tie the knot later this summer.

So here we are on a Saturday morning, early May, I’m typing up a quick engagement announcement while watching my husband move dirt with some sort of rented monster, just outside my lakeside window. We’ve got work to do. This massive sandbox, wild with nature, come August 1st is a wedding venue. Yep, that’s right. I’m imagining our newest bride taking her walk right down those rocks where not long ago she was hauling boxes. Who would have thought?


(Not yikes about the bride. We adore her. But yikes, we’ve got some work to do.)

Later today, early evening, we plan to shower and pack, return the rented dirt-mover, drop the dog at Grammy’s, and hit the road for Iowa, where we’ll meet Brina’s parents on Mother’s Day. And I’m remembering another May, was it three springs ago? Mother’s Day weekend and we were flying out to Colorado to celebrate an engagement and meet the parents of bride number two.

This life and all its sweetest surprises.

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