“I want to invite Caleb over for dinner sometime next week,” Ashley told her mom. They were standing in the kitchen peeling potatoes for Christmas dinner. The entire Davis family came over every year on Christmas Eve for a big dinner and gift exchange. “Would that be okay with you?”
“Sure,” Deanna said. “I’d love to get to know him better. He seems like a really nice man.”
She walked over to the sink and started washing the potatoes that they’d already finished peeling.
“Do you think it’s going to become serious eventually?”
Ashley could tell that her mom was fighting her feelings between hopeful that Ashley had found a good returned missionary, and scared that she was throwing away the boy next door who loved her and was going to make a really good husband someday. It was a pull that Ashley felt all too strongly herself.
“I don’t know, Mom. It’s possible.” She set her knife down and turned to look at her mom. “I’m trying really hard to keep my mind open… and my heart open.”
She turned back to her work. She loved working alongside her mom. It was bonding. And now that she was an adult, sort of, she felt like her mom was kind of training her how to be a good wife and mother someday. That was okay with Ashley.
She thought her mom worked too hard, and didn’t think she’d want to put as much time and effort into home cooked meals, and canning, and gardening, and all the other things that came along with living on a farm. But she admired her mom and thought that she was a saint.
“Well, I guess my best advice to you… if you want my advice, that is—” Deanna stopped and turned to her daughter.
“Oh course I want your advice, Mom.”
“Don’t burn any bridges before you know for sure.”
“I know… and I’m not.” They both turned back to the work that needed to be done. “In a way, I think this… situation, has made Paul and I take a step back and look at each other a little differently. We don’t take each other for granted anymore. We’re both growing up, and I think we both recognize that life is going to offer a lot more challenges than we thought.”
She stopped and took a deep breath.
“I love Paul,” she whispered. “But I’m not his girlfriend anymore. Either I’m going to be his fiancé sometime soon, or we’re going to grow apart.”
“Is it that serious between the two of you that you think you might get engaged soon?” Her mom turned to look at Ashley and she was surprised to see the look of shock on her mom’s face.
“Uh, he asks me to marry him all the time, Mom.” Ashley laughed lightly. “I’m surprised that you’re surprised.”
“Really?” Deanna turned back to the sink. “What do you say to him?”
“That we’re too young to make that choice right now,” she replied. Duh, she thought to herself. Like I’m ready to be someone’s wife yet.
“Well, I guess that’s a good thing. You’re not ready to get married right now, anyway.”
“Who’s getting married?” Sarah asked as she walked into the kitchen. She grabbed a hot roll from the counter and leaned against the island that took up much of the center of the room. It was obvious that she wasn’t here to grab an apron and help with the cooking. She was here because she heard gossip and had to come check it out.
“No one’s getting married,” Ashley quickly corrected her sister.
“Get out of there, those are for dinner.” Deanna scolded her oldest daughter. Sarah ignored her mom and kept after Ashley.
“Which one? The cute guy with the Porsche? I like him.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet you do,” Ashley responded. “And, no. It’s not even serious with him. I’m not marrying anyone right now. I’m too young.”
She realized again that she kept telling everyone that, as if she were trying to convince them. Maybe it was herself she was trying to convince.
Ashley had always been a very mature teenager. She was the first person to step up when work needed to be done, and because she was an early riser, she often had the chores in the barn complete before anyone else was even ready to leave the house. Of course, it helped that the cute guy next door always showed up to help her out.
If anyone was ready to get married at an early age, it was her. She was responsible and much more prepared than her older sister, that was for sure.
Sarah was still a spoiled little girl who relied on her daddy’s love and her daddy’s money. She would need to find a man who would pamper her and wouldn’t mind that she had no real skills. She was eye candy, and not much else.
Ashley couldn’t help but think again that Sarah wouldn’t be a bad choice for Caleb to marry. He could take her to nice places and hire a housekeeper and a cook and spoil her.
Maybe that was the solution. Sarah could marry Caleb and Ashley could marry Paul. Caleb probably needed more intellectual stimulation than Sarah could provide, though. Ashley just shook her head at her irrational thoughts and turned back to her potatoes.