A million posts about our daughter’s wedding have rattled in my head before I could even venture to click on “new post.”
Just get started.
The few weeks leading up to it flew faster than I ever thought it was possible for time to fly. One of my favorite parts was that I would hear from Kate almost every day about something related to the planning. I love having her name pop up on my phone. Long gone are the days it sent a panic through my gut, fearing drama. Her personal, spiritual, and emotional maturation have far exceeded what I once thought possible.
I should have known better.
The three days preceding the wedding are a fog. Luckily there are some brain-jarring moments and photos to help me out.
The days were guided ever-so-gracefully (despite aforementioned near-beheading) by my awesome daughter-in-law, who was also Kate’s Matron of Honor. I heard from her almost every day, too. Loved that. And really, how beautiful is she? That beauty runs deep. Truly, my son married up.
I was kept on track by a spreadsheet of endless lists, including the one that said “Pack Spanx.” Because in the midst of this wonderful sacrament of marriage, one must remember to wear Spanx. Turns out the Spanx sort of argued with the shutter pleats on my dress and I had pleats a-flipping most of the night, but who cares? Checking “pack Spanx” off the list was cathartic.
A moment that grounded me in the meaning of the day was after the clamoring and giggling of the girls getting their make-up done in the hotel room. Sara, a dear friend and bridesmaid, offered to pray with us as we sat around the table cluttered with water bottles and M & M’s. In that moment, it all came together and I felt a peace that only conversation with God can give. I want to be like Sara when I grow up – never too busy or distracted to pause for a prayer of gratitude and praise. I’m not very good at that sometimes.
My cousin Ellie, who is Kate‘s namesake and was also my Maid of Honor, made the jewelry for both Kate and me. Kate chose her as one of the reception hostesses. She was an ever-present source of support, and left a sweet note on my pillow the night of the wedding, a gesture that blessed me and reminded me again how much thicker blood is than water. And how cousins can be best friends and near-sisters. Even though you still bicker about who gets to hold Harper next.
I really don’t know what I envisioned for the day, but it was perfect. Oh sure, there were last minute changes for the ushers, but being seasoned at their jobs they handled it well. My boys are awesome. I was at the mercy of the planning, coordinators, and organizers, and it was all unfolding as it should. My assignment was to greet, walk down the aisle, listen, cry, walk back down the aisle, greet some more, go to reception.
I felt comfortably inconspicuous.
A bit alone.
Everyone had a job to do. Everyone was busy. My work was done, on many levels. I’d birthed, prayed, nursed, raised, taught, fought (yes, we fought), prayed, mentored, instructed, prayed, cried, advised, prayed, and loved this beautiful girl from the moment she arrived on Mother’s Day 32 years before. I’d left her in God’s hands long ago, knowing I was powerless to do only what He can do. So I spent the several hours before the wedding just sitting in the chapel, alone, bare feet on cold cement, reflecting on this beautiful daughter of mine, never really mine to begin with, but loaned to me by Him. I thought about this God-breathed marriage, not merely a wedding. Ann Voskamp’s A Prayer for a Daughter had long been memorized, and I pulled the lyrical words randomly out of my memory throughout the day.
If you have a daughter, I dare you to pray that prayer and not weep.
May her vocation in this world simply be translation.
Translating every enemy into esteemed guest
Translating every countenance into the face of Christ
Translating every burden into blessing.
Kate was radiant the entire day, captured beautifully by skilled photographers, one of them Ryan’s cousin. Looking back at the videos, I am so proud of the person she has become, though she did not arrive there without trials, heartbreak, and tears. That’s how God shapes us. (Well, that and her Bridal Boot Camp which didn’t hurt her physical image one bit).
little girl woman I saw greeting guests as they exited was gracious, kind, and loving. The gratitude she expressed for them for was straight from the heart. I loved that they chose for us all to praise Him as one family, singing Hosanna along with the worship leader from their church. In the moment of silence after the song, a child in the congregation yelled “YAY!!!” Yes, that said it all. I love the look on Kate and Ryan’s faces as captured by Steph.
I’ve been dying to rehash the entire day with her. Every minute. Every thought. After dropping them at the airport early the following Monday as they jetted away on their honeymoon, I’ve thought of a million things I want to tell her or ask her. My restraint has been phenomenal. I won’t be that mother, or mother-in-law. God’s always had her first, but Ryan just took over second place.
Sigh. I may have lost that position a long time ago. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. I am eternally grateful for that Third Strand among them that will be the foundation of their marriage.
I pray their marriage will be blessed with God’s love, defeated trials, continual forgiveness, mutual submission, forever love, and cousins for Harper. Because Grandma’s house is the place cousins go to become best friends.
Just ask Ellie and me.
Tea today: China Green, leftover from tea satchels they had as wedding favors