This is a different essay for me. It takes my readers through some emotional flashbacks as I struggled to write a meaningful piece and the finished product I delivered several hours later at my daughter’s wedding, on September 4, 2011.
I hope your takeaway will be similar to mine as I finished this writing; that the simple moments, gestures and details that life generously provides to each of us, are often the most memorable…and important.
Happy Anniversary, D & T!!!!
It was September 4, 2011, 5 a.m. In less than eight hours, the festivities of the day would begin. My hair would be carefully styled. Makeup painstakingly applied. Rustling fabric. Nervous smile. Joyful tears. My daughter’s wedding.
I stared at the screen in disbelief. Writer’s block. Brought on by procrastination. After all, it had been almost six months since I asked her. “I would like to speak in church at your wedding.” And since the acceptance of my offer…not one prepared word.
The hotel lobby where I had taken up residence was free from movement. Only the aroma of recently brewed coffee and occasional appearance of the hotel desk clerk provided distraction. I stared at the screen again….not one written word.
Memories flooded in. The call. “We have a newborn baby girl for you!” “When can you come to the agency to discuss?” Two years of anticipation, frustration, waiting, hoping, praying. Two long years, waiting to get to the top of the list. Tears filled my eyes.
6:30 a.m. My thoughts suddenly interrupted by the sound of children and their parents. A soccer team, headed for breakfast. Excited laughter. Had I been in thought this long? ….not a single written word.
March 26, 1980. JFK airport. Clutching my crumpled St. Jude card following ten weeks of intense prayer. “Please keep my baby safe.” “Please let her know I love her.” And now at the airport, staring out the window. “Please let the plane land safely.”
My tears were flowing freely now. Passersby perhaps wondering what tragedy this poor woman sitting alone in a hotel lobby, staring at her laptop screen, had just endured…. It’s my daughter’s wedding…
“Mom, I have someone I would like you to meet.” Hours before a 4–day holiday for just the two of us. A young man in a corduroy jacket with beautiful brown soulful eyes. “Happy to meet you”, he said. “What do you think?”, she said, later in our hotel room.
“Our bride’s mother, has prepared something to read to you,” said the minister. “Will you please come forward.” I rose from the pew and made my way, slowly, awkwardly, to the front of the tiny church. I looked out and saw my relatives and my dear friends. All whom had taken part in this remarkable journey called my life.
My hand shook as I unfolded the typewritten paper. Large font. Easy to read. I composed myself. I focused on the beautiful couple seated by the altar… I began to speak…
My phone rang one day, last February. I remember I was getting ready to have dinner with friends. I had been thinking about my daughter, who was flying that day to a conference in California.
It was her boyfriend of several years, who sounded a little stressed. He also had never initiated a call to me before. “Please tell me”, I asked, with my heart in the pit of my stomach,“Is T okay?” “ She is fine, Sue. I called to ask if it is okay to ask her to marry me.”
It was shortly after my tears of joy that it sunk in. This wonderful man, whom I had come to adore, had just asked me if he could marry my daughter.
And so, like every other beginning during her journey through life, I knew this decision would be made with great thought, deliberation, and commitment.
My mind raced back through a mother’s memory of the milestones of her life. The time when she first introduced me to him. Her first day at college, when she gently reminded me, “Mom, it’s time for you to leave now”. The football games where I would tell anyone who would listen, “that’s my daughter out there, leading the band”..And… of course, waiting anxiously at the airport, clutching my St. Jude card, waiting for the airplane to land that carried my precious baby daughter.
And so, on this wonderful day of a new beginning in their lives, I would like to share with D, whom I have come to love with all my heart, and to all who are gathered here to witness the beginning of their new life together……..
I looked up. She smiled. The beautiful, warm, reserved smile I love which says “Well done. Thank you Mom.”