Tomorrow my family will be attending the wedding of one my "other daughters". This will be the second wedding I have been invited to, of girls that were amongst the best friends of my children, and I know my reaction will be the same as the first; I know I will start crying as soon as I see the bride's mother being seated. I will watch Cheryl walk by me, as I did with Anna, and I will recall, with great happiness, the moments that we had together as we were raising our two little girls. I will remember the laughter, as well as a few tears that we shed upon our journey as parents, and I will think how wonderful it was to have done so, together.
Next, I will see my oldest daughter Holly walk down the aisle, as she will stand up in this wedding, as she did in Alana's. I will look at my beautiful little girl, now a woman herself, and thank God, once again, that He blessed her father and me with such a wonderful child. What a privilege it has been, to have been given such a gift. My daughters, as I have said so many times before, needed very little raising, because they were already perfect when we got them. God, in His generosity, just let Dave and I enjoy His good work.
Next, I will see Stephanie walk down the aisle with her father, Jeff, and I will think, wistfully, how I wish I had known my own dad. I will think how, whenever I witness the loving interaction between a father and his daughter, I feel great happiness for the two of them and that special relationship that they have. I will think of my husband, Dave, and how important he is to our own girls. I will think of the long hours of overtime that he worked to provide for them, and how he did so when lesser men would not have. I will remember how, despite all the obstacles he faced with his Multiple Sclerosis, he soldiered on, uncomplaining, and instead, immersed himself in his daughters' lives; creating the bond that will ensure he will be a part of those lives, always. I will think of his late night calls to colleges, just to say hello, or the movies on TV that he stopped to enjoy with his girls, and I will smile; knowing that he recognized our time with them was fleeting. It has been during these moments when I watched Dave with his girls, and when I saw other good fathers like him and Jeff, that I would feel a momentary pang of longing for that kind of relationship for, although I have had a wonderful life, I will never know, firsthand, that remarkable love of a father for his little girl….and she will ALWAYS be his little girl.
Then, I will look at Stephanie, a girl who slept at our house, shared our lives and helped to fill them with wonderful memories. I will remember how she played tug of war with our dog Sophie, and twirled that pup around like furry dust mop, as they played. I will remember the powder puff football game with Holly, and the aching muscles that came along with the week of training for it. I will think of the days that followed, when they needed to move their heads up and down to brush their teeth, because their arms ached too much to move them. I will remember the trips to Port Sanilac, and campfires with toasted marshmallows, and I will wish, for a moment, that I could do it all over again because those moments were so precious to me.
Finally, I will think of the advice that I want to give her, about the new life she is about to embark on. It is advice that I have learned through my own experiences and that I have often shared before. I want her to remember that all marriages have their ebbs and tides, but that the moments worth remembering are the happy ones; time spent mulling over the lesser ones is only time wasted. I want her to remember to never get too busy to enjoy her life with her new husband, because in order to have memories to cherish one needs to take the time to make them first. And, finally, I want her to tell Matt that it is always a good idea to bring home M&M's and Sweetarts on a regular basis. Candy, and the thought that goes into remembering to buy it for the woman you love, is often the glue that holds a good marriage together. I should know; I just finished a bag of M&M's.
God Bless you on your wedding day, Stephanie and Matt! May your lives together be filled with every joy that you can imagine...and a lifetime supply of M&M's!