When I was young, a wedding was a happy celebration for me. It was a day to dress up in a beautiful gown, have flowers overflowing every surface, and you walked down the aisle to your handsome husband-to-be. It was the most tremendous of happenings in a young girl’s life. And I looked forward to my wedding day with great expectation.
When our first daughter was married almost eight years ago, it wasn’t a happy day for me. Yes, I know that is a rather blunt way to put it, and it seems a bit selfish, but that was the way I felt. I was losing my oldest daughter, and all the attributes she brought to our family circle…and I was depressed. That tiny baby I held at birth, and cherished, was no longer mine, she belonged to someone else.
As I look at my husband in this picture, I see sadness on his face. And I know he was feeling many of the same emotions I was.
Fast forward a few years to our second daughter’s wedding. No, I wasn’t any more happy about it. I was sad and depressed. Again, a part of our family was once again changing, and it would never be the same. She was leaving us by choice, and that hurt.
I think the most difficult part of each wedding ceremony for me was watching my husband walk our daughters down the aisle, and then kiss her goodbye. It really symbolizes the ending of one way of life and the beginning of another.
Our third daughter is celebrating her first wedding anniversary today. Her wedding, one year ago was just as hard on the emotions. Even more poignant was the fact that she wore my wedding dress and veil. It was an honor, but flooded my mind with so many memories of my own wedding day. All those years shuffled away under the load of babies, jobs, bills, and responsibilities. Where had they all gone is such a hurry?
When I was young, I never thought of weddings as being a sad day. I pretty much thought people were shedding tears of happiness. I didn’t understand all that was behind those tears…just as our daughters do not understand right now. And that’s how it should be.
Our three daughters, (we have one more to go), have all married wonderful young men. They have lives of their own now. Yes, it’s been very difficult to let go of each one, and I know I’m not successful at it most of the time. Those girls were MY babies not many years ago. I fed them, rocked them, and sang them to sleep at night. I dressed them up in matching clothes, and fixed their hair every morning. I was frustrated with them as teenagers, hoping they would leave home very quickly on many days over the years. But now they are no longer mine as they once were, and in reality, they never were really mine.
I was allowed a very short number of years in their life in my role as their mother. Yes, I’m still ‘Mom’ but not in the same way. It’s hard to let go, and it’s sad. I think I cry each time one of them celebrates another anniversary. But I am happy for them, proud of them, and thankful that they still choose to include me in their lives, sometimes almost on a daily basis. And someday they will understand. I pray that by the time that day arrives, I will have matured enough to hold them, and give comfort. That I will be able to tell them there is happiness in watching their children grow as men and women, husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers.
And that’s just as it should be.
Happy First Anniversary, Mitchel and Alyssa Lynn! You are loved!