The day before my daughter’s wedding I told her to expect things to go wrong on her special day: “As long as you focus on what’s most important, it will not matter one bit. Enjoy your day and roll with the problems, but expect them because there will be unexpected challenges.”
As the day began, all seemed perfect. And not just a little perfect either, all seemed beyond perfect. Family and friends arrived at the wedding venue in order to set up and did so with no hiccups. There were no conflicts, angst over decisions, and there were no hurt feelings or petty squabbles. All were gleeful and celebrating.
Finishing early the wedding party and myself made it to our hair and makeup appointments with time to spare. I questioned why I had given my daughter such useless counsel the night before. It appeared as though the day were going to be the absolute ideal for all weddings.
Then, like the beginning of a horror flick where all seems calm and merry until that “something” happens, suddenly our perfect day took a turn. Like dominoes falling in succession the first one fell at the salon. I was having my hair styled while my daughter was having her makeup done. Then we switched.
As we passed each other she asked, “Mom, how do I look?”
“Beautiful.” What else do to say to your daughter on her wedding day? But in actuality she looked like someone had poured bronze on her. Monica having blond hair and light features it was not her best look. But I certainly was not going to tell her that! So, my response was, “Beautiful.” And she was—my daughter is always beautiful—with or without bronze painted on her.
While in the makeup chair the gal put multiple clips in my hair. I said, “Isn’t this going to mess with my hair?” Of course she said no. It was not true.
When the makeup artist was done, I looked like I had gotten into a catfight, getting my hair pulled and then punched in both eyes. It became a horror flick for me when I looked into the mirror. I asked if she could fix it but no matter what she did, it just didn’t get any better. I was now in a panicked daze not able to think clearly when my sweet and smart daughter-in-law, Jenny, seeing how bad I looked said, “Would you like me to call the guys and have them bring something for you from the house?” (By the way, she and the other bridesmaids had a different makeup artist and they all looked stunning.)
Why yes, of course, I could get my own makeup from home and redo my bruised eyes. Hope was restored. At this point you may be thinking, why did the day become about how you looked? I think I can speak for all mothers-of-the-bride when I say you want to try and look as best as possible when you make your descent on that long aisle with all eyes on you. I had been working out for months in preparation for the big day. And while my dress fit well, I was not about to walk down with my face looking like I had been in a car crash!
When my daughter saw me she agreed my makeup needed a redo and it was at that time she said, “Mom, I hate the way she did my makeup too.” Fortunately the hair stylist had done a wonderful job on Monica’s hair and happily fixed mine, but we both knew we needed an emergency repair.
We rushed to our venue to fix our botched faces when we discovered another wedding party occupied our rented space.
As we rushed into the ladies room to fix our clown faces another bride was in there with her wedding party and didn’t see any reason to step aside. My daughter’s maid-of-honor explained to them they had to move on. They slowly complied. After all, we were the party who had rented the venue for the day.
Monica got right to work fixing her face. I “patiently” waited for my makeup to arrive. When my 19-year-old son, Joseph, saw me he shrieked and announced, “You look like a ghost!” Conformation that I certainly needed to spruce up my face!
When Monica was ready to put on her wedding dress she unwrapped her gown and let out a big screech, “Mom, there’s a bug inside my wedding dress!”
I jumped into action by reaching my hand up in the lace of the dress, stabbing the bug with my fingernail and pulled the critter out. Mom to the rescue! It was my last rescue mission before my little girl became a married woman.
After getting Monica in her dress and zipping it up, I noticed the top latch was missing the loop to fasten it. I felt panicked and didn’t want to alarm my daughter. I motioned Jenny to come and look it over in case I missed something. She confirmed it: The latch thingy was missing.
“Mom, what’s wrong?”
“Everything is fine. All zipped up. We’re done.”
“But Mom, it doesn’t feel right. What’s wrong?”
I was caught. I had to come clean. “Honey, the loop is missing. But it looks fine. It really won’t matter.”
Waiting for her cries of dismay, I stood motionless.
She said, “Okay.” And that was that. Whew!
Then, like a gap between dominoes, the tumbles of trouble came to a halt. We went back to our near perfect day.
We made our way to the back of the rose garden where the groom and guests were eagerly waiting. When it was my turn to walk that long awaited descent down the aisle with my handsome son, Tim, I suddenly experienced a rush of unexpected and unwelcomed emotions.
We were handing over our little girl. The one I had rescued over and over with way more serious issues than a bug. The time she flew out of our travel trailer, age 2, hitting her head and rushing her to the doctor. The school hurdles and girl drama. The heart breaks. The car accident. We were handing over the little girl we cherished. The little girl we watched receive awards, play sports, perform solos, and serve God.
She wasn’t our little girl anymore.
I forgot how to breathe. Time stopped for an instant as I chanted in my head, Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Taking a step I could feel a tear rolling down my cheek. It was supposed to be a happy walk. Why the tear? Breathe. Smile. Walk. Hold it together!
Getting to the safety of my mother-of-the-bride seat felt like a warm hug. Watching my daughter cascade in on her father’s arm was simply breathtaking. My handsome groom of 32 years wearing his shades walked our little girl down the aisle and placed her hand into the hand that would now be the one to rescue, love, cherish, and protect, a hand for which I am well pleased and thankful.
The ceremony, the celebration, and the send off were as glorious and better than we had anticipated.
In the quiet of the next morning my husband softly said, “I hope she has what we have.”
At the end of all the bug-killing-wedding-hoopla as I look into my daughter’s empty and now clean room, I expected to feel empty. But I don’t. I feel joy because she is happier than I have ever seen her, and that makes me happy.