My daughter is getting married. My first born, my first to tie the knot. When you hold your infant, fresh from the womb and from the miracle of God’s handiwork, you can never imagine this day will come. But it does, and in a flash it somehow all makes sense.
All the earaches, skinned knees, a broken arm or two… All the bedtime stories, bedside chats, practicing for spelling tests and times tables, laughter sprinkled like pixy dust over the silliest and simplest things, family fun nights, and learning how to drive… Hurts that could not be fixed with bandaids, ice packs, or ibuprofen, but with listening, love, and a few tears. These are the moments, the dots that connect us one to the other, heart to heart, forever and forever.
My heart crumples at the thought, anticipating the words that I will hear, “Who gives this woman away….?” I do. But how can he know, the man who waits for her at he end of an aisle, all that she was before he met her? Or all that she will become now that he has?
Although her dad will hand her off, I give my precious daughter to the man who will love her with a heart as big as hers. He will cherish her, respect her, honor her, build her up, nurture her. He will see her through all those good times and the bad. He will not waffle. He will pray with her, be faithful to her, and see life through with her. He will. I can see it when I look into his eyes, and I believe him. I trust him. I love him. I’ve prayed for him all her life.
There are things that I wish that I could change, do over, make better. In moments like these, life rewinds and comes flooding back in waves of emotion, some sad but mostly happy. And proud. How very proud I am of who this young woman is that I had the privilege to bear. She is the best of us, we who loved her into existence. But so much more than we are all at the same time.
How can you give away one who is tethered to you by an umbilical cord of spirit, unconditional love, and a promise that you will be there for her until your last breath? It can’t be done. It can only be augmented by a love that grows with her, wrapping around her and her soon to be husband and their someday family, until it would seem my heart might burst.
I have four wonderful, beautiful children, all who will have their day of my giving them away. Emma is, again, my first. She gets to break the mold, just as she was the first to make me a mom; the first to expand who I was so that I could become more, just because she needed me.
All I have are words to paint the pictures of my life; to share in snippets what I have learned while living it. And yet, at a time like this, words seem so inadequate. I need a soundtrack, a chorus of hallelujahs and amens, for all that God has blessed me with, for all the love I have for this girl who, at just five pounds and seven ounces, changed my world one October day.
God is so, so good to us. The Bible says that “gray hair is the crown of splendor.” (I don’t think He minds that I cover mine.) I don’t think He will mind that I will shed a few tears on a day that will be for her the happiest day of her life. I know He is in all of it.
My favorite Scripture, is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make all your paths straight.”
These words have fortified me, sustained me, tempered me, guided me.
It is with these words, that I give my daughter to one who will be my son-in-law, dedicating her to the path that is before them.
I have come to understand, that it is always in giving that we receive. I know this day is only the beginning of more that are to come.
If God were to ever ask me, if I know how much He has blessed me in my life, I will say without missing a beat. “Yes, Lord. Thank you.”