The Abbie Effect

September 17, 2021


“Hi Mom, I was wondering if it would be okay if I brought a girl home to meet you?” That’s how it used to work, but by the time my sons were old enough to bring girls home, the ritual had changed into bringing an entire group of kids home, and “the girl” was hidden somewhere in the gang. 

A half dozen or more college students and recent graduates would swarm my house. Both boys and girls were all cute and energetic as speckled pups.

We're all just friends!

My husband and I would have pretty much the same conversation every time; “Does the blonde like Harrison?” “I can’t tell. I think he likes the one named Grace.” “They’re all named Grace.” “Well the brunette Grace likes Austin. It’s obvious.” “Mary Grace has a boyfriend at Auburn. Frances Grace said she isn’t dating anyone until she gets her veterinarian degree.” “We could use a Vet in the family.” “Yeah, but Harrison said he only likes her as a friend.” “Which one is Gracie?”

We were totally confused and played this game over and over, until one day, he called and said, “Mom, I’m bringing Abbie home.” I said, “Ok, who else?” He replied. “Only Abbie.” 

One girl? All by herself? I felt swimmy-headed. 

“I have to buy new sheets for the guest room.” I told my husband. “But you just bought new sheets for that room last month. “They’re low-thread count and Abbie is a high-thread count kind of girl.” “How do you know?” “I can tell in his voice, she’s the one, and I raised him to like high-thread count kind of girls. I’ll also pick up new towels, cute shampoo and little soaps.” Girls love little soaps. 

It was worth the effort because Abbie showed up and loved me and my little soaps so much, she kept coming back. When she stepped in the door for the first time, she said, “I’ve read everything you’ve ever written!” I thought . . . “If she’s telling the truth, how clever of her. But If she’s pulling my leg . . . how clever of her.” Instant admiration. 

She helped out in the kitchen, which I usually can’t stand for other people to be in my kitchen, but for some reason, I was fine with it. I sat back and watched as she and Harrison loaded the dishwasher and thought how wonderful it was for my son to bring Abbie to me. I could tell she appreciated the sheets but was raised to never mention them if she didn’t.

The little soaps led to a new rug, and then to new picture frames down the hallway, a little paint touch up here and there, and now . . . I’m redoing my entire kitchen. The Abbie effect is powerful. 

Abbie kept hanging around my son so she could spend more time with me. And then . . . the big group of kids turned into a table for two and they’re — engaged! Thanks to my attention to detail, my son was able to meet the love of his life. 

It’s a lot of work to find the one special girl in the midst of a crowd, but totally worth the wait. And who says the mother of the groom isn’t important? 

This story first appeared in newspapers

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