A year ago, my oldest daughter was married. I would have loved to write this at that time, but it was such a blur and so busy, it just never happened. So now, on their first anniversary, here goes.
I don’t know if any mother is really prepared for their daughter to tell them she is engaged. While I was thrilled and so happy for her there was a melancholy there too. This was my little girl. My first little girl. The girl who had been born while her father was flying in Gulf War I and I was alone in England. This was the little girl who had been the light and joy of my life since 12:42AM, January 18, 1991. She made me a mother, and filled my heart with so much love I never knew was possible.
I would say her growing up was quite easy. There were the normal teenage angsts (“you will NOT leave the house in a skirt that short, go upstairs and change… But MOM!.. stomp, stomp, stomp”) And there was that boyfriend I really did NOT like and she just like him more because of it! But besides those very minor things, she was really just an all around amazing person and the pride and joy she brought me were indescribable.
Then she went to college and I lost some of her. We still talked all the time and grew closer in a much different way. She became my friend as well as my daughter. She grew and matured and became an even more amazing person. She had a boyfriend when she graduated college, but I always knew he wasn’t it.
Then she got sick. She was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Her life was turned upside down. We worried, we cried, we researched, we learned, she persevered. College boyfriend soon disappeared.
It was after this, I started hearing about the new guy. When we went to Paris for a week, he was dog-sitting for her and my antenna immediately went up — “hmmm, he’s dog-sitting? He brought dog to airport to pick her up? Hmmmm” Moms just know.
As the months went by, he became a staple in her life. I met him on a visit to Colorado and was even more convinced it was just a matter of time. When she invited him for Christmas, I knew that was it. The following December, I got “the call”. I was aware they were spending the day in Denver, which meant special time and somehow in the back of my mind wondered if this was the day. When my phone rang, I expected to hear her voice and instead heard his, telling me how much he loved my daughter and wanted to marry her. Yep, there were tears. Many tears. Tears of happiness for my daughter and a few tears of sadness for the little girl who was now truly gone.
After that call, the wedding planning went into full swing. They chose a date about 10 months away so it would be relatively quick. And of course, they would be married in Colorado, not Las Vegas, so everything would be done long distance for me. Moms, when your daughter tells you she’s getting married, just open up the vein and let the money start pouring out. My daughter and her fiancé worked hard to make sure they were as careful as possible and we did not spend nearly as much as you can on a wedding, but it still adds up. It was worth every penny.
Jump to The Day. Wow, all the feels. Words cannot describe how you feel watching your baby walk down an aisle into her future. I was worried I would be a complete blubbering mess, and surprisingly I held it together pretty well. She looked absolutely radiant and so happy. And the groom – well, when he cried when he saw her, it made me like him even more. I was just so happy she was so happy. As a mom, that’s all you want for your child – please find happiness.
I had prepared a song for her, since music is such a big part of me. I sang “In My Daughter’s Eyes” and while there didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the house, I managed to get through the whole thing without a tear. It was our song growing up – she knew exactly what it was from the first three notes of the intro. It says so much of what I sometimes can’t put into words. (Song starts at :50 seconds in)
So many pictures went through my head that day. But nothing can beat the intense love and pride I felt. I guess it was at that moment I realized I had done my job. I had raised her and hopefully taught her what she needed. I was excited for all the good that would be coming to her and knew she had the tools to handle the troubles.
In way it’s good there is so much happening at a wedding. Even after she drove away with her new husband, I couldn’t stop to be sad in anyway because we had so much to do to get the gifts in the car and the decorations that needed to be taken home, etc. I ended up falling into bed that night just exhausted. Which was good, because it didn’t allow me time to be sad.
So how do you go from being just mom, to mother-in-law? That’s new territory. But happily, not much has really changed in my relationship with her. We still talk pretty much every day. We see each other as much as we can. We just have another person along for some of it! And he’s pretty great. I am so grateful they have each other. I am so lucky I am her mom. And her friend.
Take Z Challenge: Call your daughter! Or text her. Right now. And tell her how proud you are of her and how much you love her – you can do this if you have a son also!
Wedding Photography: Cassie Rosch Photography