For our wedding, my brother-in-law, Adam, put together a slideshow of Nate and I that showed glimpses of our own individual stories and the journeys we both traveled until God intertwined our paths. The soundtrack to our video montage was appropriate for both of us as individuals and then as a couple as the latter part of the slideshow unfolded the first pages of our love story. As pictures of my childhood danced by, the song “American Honey,” by Lady Antebellum played. What I didn’t know then was that months later I’d still have one lyric in particular stuck on repeat in my mind. The lyric sings, “…couldn’t wait to get goin’ but wasn’t quite ready to leave,” and it sums up my heart in eleven words.
You see when I signed up for this whole marriage thing the only thing that had me worried was leaving the “Scudder” behind. Now don’t get me wrong, once a Scudder, always a Scudder. But for me, Scudder has always been more than just a surname. My last name was what connected me to my dad, my parents, and my family. I think that so much of my identity was tied up in those seven letters. Getting married meant leaving my father’s house. I grew up in his family, the one he and my mom created for us. I may have moved out of my father’s house when I went away to college but no matter where I was, I was always a part of my father’s house. I knew of its love and protection even from distant places.
Meeting Nate down the aisle, on the arm of my dad, joining hands with him, and exchanging vows under the trees on that breathtaking day was everything I ever imagined it would be. It was incredible, surreal, beautiful, emotional, and had me on the tips of my toes leaning into love. I couldn’t wait to get goin’.
When Nate kissed his bride and we walked back down that aisle as husband and wife I don’t think my feet touched the ground. The pictures were taken, the champagne was poured, and then I met my dad on the dance floor and I wasn’t quite ready to leave. I felt bliss and simultaneously I felt loss.
Now this may seem overly dramatic to some of you and you may want to slap me in the face. You may be thinking, “boo hoo, you found the love of your life. Grow up, blah blah blah.” And you can think that. But I simply couldn’t wait to get goin’ yet I wasn’t quite ready to leave. Leave my dad, my mom, their home, and being a Scudder.
After Nate and I got married we had the rare, unique, humbling adventure of moving in with my parents. We weren’t sure where we were headed and while we figured out what was next my parents were gracious enough to let us stay awhile. While I will spare you the details, after a couple of wrong turns and many hours spent in prayer, yearning for direction, we got the call.
Nate was offered a job in Seattle and in a few short weeks we were moving. We both felt excited, nervous, and completely overwhelmed. My parents helped us pack, paint furniture, and then my dad followed our U-Haul up to Seattle and helped us unload and watched as Nate carried me over the threshold. The three of us spent hours sifting through boxes, making silly jokes, and then Sunday morning we hugged through tears and stood on the corner as he drove away. And in that moment, Nate and I both weren’t quite ready for him to leave.
I can’t wait to get goin’ and continue on in this adventure with Nate. But, don’t judge me that I’m not quite ready to leave. Here, in this strange city I am Katie Bruce. Whoever I meet from here will only know me as a Bruce. I am realizing that I will always be a part of my Dad’s family and Nate has joined that family too. Yet at the same time, I am becoming Katie Bruce. We may have already been married for a few months, but we are still working on becoming family. Bruce is going to become a whole lot more than just a new last name-- because up here, in this brand new place, it’s just the two of us. This Arizona boy and California girl are going to get caught in the rain, make a small apartment a home, and become a family. I am not sure I was ever going to be ready to leave yet here I am, here we are. I will always be Katie, I will always have my Scudder roots, but we are Becoming the Bruces.