My Crazy Summer Wedding Roadtrip

August 30, 2023

It is Labor Day weekend, and many students are either in school or preparing to return to class in a few days. We have a daughter who is a rising senior, so this is her last first day of high school. Our youngest daughter is a rising Sophomore. We have a son in college in Arkansas and another in college in Ohio. All that already made for a crazy summer, so why not throw in a wild wedding story and a baby? One of the traditions of the first day back to school is the classic report on what you did this summer. So, this is my report. I struggled with a title. It is kind of like The Brady Bunch, Smoky and the Bandit, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World all rolled up into one movie. Try to keep up.

The summer began with an already busy schedule. In addition to the normal schedule of weddings most weekends, my wife led our church’s Vacation Bible School. If you have ever volunteered for something like this, you know how wonderful and exhausting it can be. After VBS, my wife and I sensed we should not take a big vacation. We were unsure why, but something told us this was not the summer for big plans. We took a few days and went to Niagara Falls, but that was it. Standing under the force of a waterfall is powerful; there is nothing like it.  The water fall quickly became a metaphor for the rest of the summer.

First, my book was finally published. A project that has taken me a very long time has finally been completed. (Feel free to grab a copy here). As exciting as that was, there was no time to rest on my laurels.

We knew two huge events were coming up. One of my sons, Dawson, was getting married on July 22nd, and my other son, Camden, and his wife were expecting my first grandson at the end of August.

And that is where the story took a real turn.

My third son, James, was home from college and spending a few weeks in North Carolina visiting Camden and Abbey. Abbey was too far along to travel, so the plan was for James and Camden to drive up to Pennsylvania on the Friday before Dawson’s wedding. Camden would attend the wedding and drive back; James would stay with me for the rest of the summer, and everyone would root for Abbey during August. We all wondered how we might juggle the new schoolyear, band, and the arrival of a baby.

Well, on Thursday, July 20th, Abbey went to the doctor. Camden went to work and James went with Abbey to her appointment. She promised it would only take a few minutes. She had a whole day planned, which partially included getting a dress shirt for Camden before he left for the wedding. Camden was going to be a groomsman.  

She went to the appointment, and the doctor did not like what she saw. Abbey asked if she needed to take it easier. They said, “No, you need to go upstairs. You need to have the baby today.” Six weeks early. The wheels began turning, the labor became a C-Section, and Benjamin Lax Anderson was born on July 21st.

It was wild trying to keep up with everything. In the meantime, we still had a wedding that weekend that I was officiating.  Talk about emotional swings.

My brother Jeremy was coming from Florida to attend the wedding; I called him mid-trip and said, “You need to make a pitstop in North Carolina.” He swung through and saw Camden and Abbey and grabbed James. Everyone got to the wedding site in time for the rehearsal.

We had a wonderful wedding on Saturday, July 22nd, celebrating Dawson and his wife Abby (yes, he married a girl named Abby). Camden could not be there, but he had a great excuse. Dawson and Abby shared their vows and put letters in a winebox.

They got their pictures done in a local botanical garden near the ceremony site. The name Dawson means David's son. The name Abby means joy of the father. They both made me joyful and proud. As a father, there is no prouder moment than to see your kids get married. To be able to officiate is beyond awesome.

The next day, we sent our daughters to band camp, and my wife and I headed down to North Carolina. Benjamin was still in the NICU, so we only got to hold him in the incubator bassinet.

A few weeks later, we went back down once Benjamin could come home. One of the most beautiful moments amid the fast pace and crazy was the hours I spent holding my grandson. Benjamin means "Son of my Right Hand" or "Son pf the King." Which of course makes him a prince.

So, as we began the school year, we got the high school students settled, and the college students moved in. Dawson and Abby enjoyed a brief honeymoon before moving to Kentucky. And my grandson and his parents are doing well.

For most people, Fall is when things crank up; for me, I am glad things will settle down a little. Blessings to Dawson and Abby. May your life be as exciting as your wedding weekend turned out to be. Blessings to Benjamin, Camden and Abbey. Grand entrances usually make for exciting stories.

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