One Life Transition at a Time
I am pro marriage. I’m pro marrying at a young age. You know, where a young man can experience life with the wife of his youth. We married young (sort of, though not as young as our kids).
Having a good marriage, a good husband and beautiful kids, I should have leaped at the chance to see my own children experience marriage like us, in God’s path. I did not. When love came courting our two adult kids I wanted to pull our welcome mat inside. Maybe because I was still adjusting to parenting adult children. Maybe because I loved our crazy, cozy family of six, (my goodness! I was barely adjusting to my first born being “Mr. Independent” Isn’t there a rule in life that says “one life transition at a time”?). I was afraid of the unknown, that fear is a part of life and you face it, right? But the rejection I perceived, that was a different demon. Love’s sweet song came and it screamed at me.
I would be forgotten
This winter marks ten years of our children marrying and starting their own families, apart from me. (My daughter would say “Not ten mom. I’ve been married nine years”). Pero, I’m counting the year before, when they made a choice for their life partner and marriage. Facing the reality that my two older children were gonna leave me and embrace another family was wrenching! (I was so emotional, some would say que exagerada! but the loss I felt was no exaggeration) I ached at the thought that when they married into “the other family” I would be forgotten, an afterthought. Listen, I want you to feel me here, please. My son (our first born) was getting married at the end of January 2012 and then the following week my daughter (our only daughter) would marry.
Two Weddings, Two Bridal Showers and Two Rehearsal Dinners
The public display of engagements rocked my world as they declared their love and commitment. I entered into work and planning mode. The details of both weddings overwhelmed me in one sense but kept me from melting down in another. Two weddings, two bridal showers, two rehearsal dinners. I pressed in.
A problem with the venue? Sorted out. A problem finding the most beautiful dress in San Diego? Mission accomplished! A mix up with the invitations? Fixed. Favors? Agreed upon. Feeding the 200 guests? No problem. An issue with the mother of the groom? (wait! that was me) An issue with the mother of the bride? (Also me). As the wedding mines exploded (Man, issues came up even throughout the wedding day!), we navigated through the rubble and put on two simple (HA! not in my eyes) and sweet weddings with two beautiful brides and dashing grooms.
Then life stopped moving, both my kids were gone. The whirlwind had settled and we were left with the guests, their noisy congratulations and the clean up. While I was unraveling I couldn’t see my Benjamin’s sad heart (Which is usually hard to do with quiet, in control people anyway) until I heard it.
Who Gives This Woman to be Married…
My husband, Steady Eddie (I call him a cold blooded Englishman, because he seems so unmoved and unemotional most times ) was giving his only daughter away to another man. I had teased him through the years of raising our daughter about him loving another girl. She was the apple of his eye and I saw how much he cherished her.
Ben tried to prepare himself for the part of the ceremony of “who gives this woman to be married to this man”. He searched for a song that would declare his heart and found the country song “I loved her first”. This is how he was going to give her to her new love. He would publicly declare his love and release her. (What?! such a public display of emotion) I wondered if he would go through with it.
On that February morning I saw just how difficult this give away was for him. When our pastor asked, “Who gives this woman (que woman! our little girl!) to be married to this man?”
I Loved Her First
Ben stood up and walked to the front of the pulpit and before all guests he sang . My unemotional husbands voice cracked as he quietly sang “I loved her first, I held her first, and a place in my heart will always be hers…” and it seemed like everyone in the room ached with him. I had been so busy trying to survive, that I never looked over at Daniella’s daddy until he gave her away.
When it was all over, we entered another stage of our lives and we moved toward adjusting to the quietness of our home. Now, I could see that we all (my two little boys felt her absence as well) were feeling a void. I wrote this as I relived my Benjamins part in his daughter’s ceremony:
Bens Little Love
Ben wanted a daughter; so sweet and soft.
Ben held his breath, he hoped and he prayed.
He peered at his baby, a wee little girl.
Immediately a new kind of love forged between
father and daughter as he held her first.
His eyes bright with awe as he looked at this bundle
Sweet little mouth, tiny little hands, wispy strands of hair
She wanted momma, and he patiently waited
She wanted up and he anxiously lifted her
She wanted more and he graciously gave it.
What a pleasure it was to give to his daughter
She took all that he gave
Our sweet handmaid had eyes only for him
Then one day, she grew up and loved another
He loved her so much, he must step out of the way
She still was his princess, always his princess
Ben’s Princess Remains…
After a decade, the three beautiful little grand-princesses prancing around us have brought joy to us for sure, but it is quite evident that Ben’s princess remains in her place within his heart. By the way, she’s giving back now. Three beautiful grandsons (I know I should describe them as handsome, but to Ama, they’re also beautiful!)