Tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be a big day.

Tomorrow is the day I have dreamed about and imagined since I was a little girl.

Tomorrow I make the leap from single to married in one fell swoop.

Tomorrow I will be sealed to the love of my life. My best friend.

Tomorrow.

So many people have asked if I’ve been scared or nervous at all. And honestly, I’ve mostly just been impatient. I want my new life to begin! I want to be a Rhineheart! I want to be married to my Tanner, and I don’t want to have to say goodbye each evening. I want to roll over in the morning and see my husband’s messy bedhead and sleepy eyes. I want to decorate our first home together, slowly filling it with memories we’ve made. I want to bring children into the world with my partner by my side, holding my hand and marveling at the tiny human being our love created. I want to grow old together. I want all of it- the easy, the hard; the happy, the sad.

All of that begins tomorrow.

And I cannot wait.

~Haeley

Mother’s Day

For the first Mother’s Day out of the house and away from my Mommy, I also happen to be completely broke and unable to do anything really great for mi madre. So instead, I will write her a letter here. 

Dearest, darlingest Mommy:
Yesterday, as I’m sure you know, I went through the temple for the first time. It was one of the most beautiful, precious experiences I have had thus far, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to go through with you by my side. I know that I wouldn’t have made it that far if it wasn’t for your example. Throughout my life, you have been there for me, reminding me when I need to be better, and guiding me to a different path. Even if I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I can now see how important your advice was at the time. 
I love you SO much! One of the hardest parts about living outside of the house is not hearing your voice or your sweet laugh. Hearing you giggle over something is one of my very favorite sounds. It’s impossible to NOT be happy when you’re so happy! I love your smile. I love your hugs. I love YOU. And I miss you. 
Mom, our lives are about to change permanently. In just under two weeks I’m going to belong to someone else, and I will be a part of someone else’s family. How nuts is that?! (so nuts.) Through it all, you’ve been able to keep me calm. Heck, through my LIFE you’ve been able to keep me relatively calm. I have no words for how grateful I am to have someone as steady and level-headed as you. You are the best mother I ever could have asked for, and I hope that some day I can be even half the mother you are. You have raised some seriously top-notch kids, Mama! Thank you so much for being the person you are and for never sacrificing your standards. I would never have come this far without you and your guidance. I love you so so soooooo much!
I hope that even though I’m getting married soon and won’t be around as often, we can continue to grow and strengthen our relationship. I’m gonna need a lot of advice once I start having littles! You’re going to be the best grandma ever, I know it. 
Again- I love you so very much, Mom. Thank you for loving me as unconditionally as you do. 
Love, me,
Thought I was done, didn’t you? Psych! This year, I get to celebrate twice the mothers! So I will write twice the letters. :^)
Dearest Mama Terra,
For almost as long as I’ve dreamed about my future husband, I’ve dreamed about (and, quite honestly, worried about) my future in laws. I’ve worried that either I wouldn’t like you, you wouldn’t like me, or it would be a mutual dislike between the two of us. But from the moment I met you, back before Tanner and I were even dating, I liked you. And I have grown to love you more than I ever thought possible! You are such a wonderful woman, and you’ve raised such a wonderful son. 
I know I’ve said it before, but I am, and forever will be so grateful to you for the boy you’ve raised. Because of your selfless sacrifice all these years he’s the man he is today. He is everything I’ve ever wanted in a husband, and that is largely because of you! Thank you so, so much. He is one of the most selfless people I’ve met, and I appreciate it more than you know. 
Thank you for welcoming me into your home time and time again, and for taking care of me so well. You’ve truly owned up to being a MOTHER in law, because I’ve felt so safe and welcome around you. I really do feel like one of your daughters, and I am so excited to get to know you in the coming years. Getting to know you has been a blessing. Becoming a part of your family in two short weeks is a dream come true, and I can’t say it enough!
I love you so much! You are the best mother in law I could have.
Love,
Me.
~Haeley

Part 4: Thanksgiving

*disclaimer: I really, really hate this part of our story. Really truly. I am such a jerk, guys. Such a jerk.*

True to his word, Tanner tried not to make our friendship awkward because I now knew he was romantically interested. I was also determined to not let anything change, so I stubbornly kept throwing the word “friends” in as many conversations as I could. And, like the angel of a human being he is, he accepted it and took it in stride. He wasn’t going to push me into anything I wasn’t ready for.

As time went on, we really WERE the best of friends…

Well, friends that flirt with each other and hold hands in the car.

I know, I know, I’m a terrible human being for leading him on that way. It wasn’t fair to him to play with his feelings like that- I knew it, I really did. But it was just so easy to be with Tanner- I could relax and just be me, and his hands were so warm and comfortable I couldn’t help but hold them as we drove around aimlessly for hours, talking late into the night. Every so often he would squeeze my hand slightly, or trace circles on my hand with his thumb, and when he did they gave me butterflies like I had never felt before- which was weird, because I did NOT have a crush on him at all. At least I told myself I didn’t.
In all honesty, I had thought about it many times and had come to the conclusion that we would probably be very happy together, indeed. He made me laugh, he was kind, and I knew he would do literally anything for me.

But he wasn’t the boy for me. No sir, he surely wasn’t. I knew, I knew I was destined to end up with my crush if I just worked at it hard enough. Sometimes we touched shoulders, my crush and I-which meant we were basically dating, in my mind. I couldn’t allow myself to be distracted by another boy! So what if Tanner was the funniest person I had ever met? So what if he cared for me in a way nobody else had since I moved to Thatcherland? So what if he gave me crazy butterflies every time he squeezed my hand?

I was bound and determined to snag my crush, if it was the last thing I did. This was *~lOvE.~*
What Tanner and I had was a solid FRIENDSHIP, and nothing more. I would see to it.
…As long as I could just keep holding his hand.

As Thanksgiving came up, I had actually arranged for my crush to come home with me for Thanksgiving (score!), and was deliriously happy about it. As an added bonus, I had decided to ask him to Winter Formal that weekend, so that nobody else could take him.
So not only would I be able to spend Thanksgiving weekend with the boy of my dreams, I would walk away from that weekend with a date! I was sure of it.

Tanner and I had discussed Thanksgiving, and he casually brought up that his parents had offered to let me stay with them for the weekend, if my family wouldn’t be able to get me to Mesa. I was touched by the offer- these people who didn’t even know me were willing to open up their home for me and welcome me in. Alas, that was not to be, for I was bringing my crush home with me if it was the last thing I did.

Thanksgiving weekend came, and I drank up the time I had with my crush, enjoying every second and waiting oh-so-patiently for my crush to confess his undying love and affection for me and my wondrous family. I knew I could get him if I just kept at it.

Then came the day after Thanksgiving. We were putting up Christmas lights, and I was working up the nerve to ask my prospective man to EAC’s Winter Formal when my phone chirped. It was a text from Tanner.

If someone were to hypothetically ask you to Winter Formal, what would you say?

I stared at the text for a long time, my stomach sinking. I was JUST about to ask my crush to that dance! I knew it would be fun with Tanner, but I just couldn’t shake the sad feeling. I wanted so badly to spend a romantic evening with the apple of my eye, but Tanner had beat me to the punch. After thinking it over a little bit longer, I replied to him.

I would hypothetically say yes, of course!

And so it was set. I was going to go to Winter Formal with Tanner.