I look at you in wonder, this beautiful human, blossomed into a woman of grace. My mind reels back to the day you were born, the sound of your first cry, those blue, blue eyes that locked onto mine. I thought then, you belong to me. You carved a place into my heart, a place where you’ll live forever.
This day, this sacred day of yours. It belongs to you. Your wedding day. The day you’ll lock yourself in the embrace of another, the day you’ll pledge your life to him, to have and to hold, forever, until death rends you apart. But you’ll never be able to tear yourself from my heart. You’ll always be my little girl.
You stand there, wrapped in a cloud of something beyond beauty. I smell your hair, and breathe in that baby-smell that I’ve known for so many years. The wind gently tosses those blonded locks, once braided into pigtails that flopped when you ran, but now lifts in soft waves around that still-baby face. Sunshine kisses the blooms of roses on your cheeks, blushed with the excitement of all those dreams you dream. Sparkles of star dust dance round your smiling mouth, and I feel baby kisses once given to me. Will his kisses hold you with such tenderness?
Your hands, now long and lithe, a single finger wrapped in gold and diamonds, that hand that once folded into mine, will soon be folded into the hand of your beloved. I see those hands, still plump and dimpled as when you were just a babe, grappling with determination to hold that crayon straight, straining to draw stick-figures of you and me.
You walk so confidently down that aisle, all eyes on you. Those legs that once ran four steps to my one, just to keep up with my stride, now walk evenly with mine, not running, but gliding on air, all grace and poise and confidence, each step drawing you closer to your love. My hand, still folded around yours, and I wonder, can I release it to the care of someone else? Can I trust any other to care for you, to love you, to treat you with tenderness, always, as I once did and forever will? Rain should fall to hide my bitter-sweet tears, as I give your hand to his.
This is your day, your sacred day. I feel the wind against my cheek: a mother’s whispered, wordless prayer that only love and joy and peace will follow you. The sunshine caresses my body: a mother’s wish that life will wrap you only in warmth. A sprinkle of rain that touches my face: the heavens washing away the bitter-sweet sadness as I watch you begin a new life of your own. The stillness, the silence than hang in the air, before that sealing kiss, before those life-changing, poignant words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife”: the trepidation mixed with hope and prayer, cause me to hold my breath, then exhale, giving you over to your lover.
And it is done. The ecstasy and hopes and dreams wash over the faces of you and your beloved, as you march confidently into the world, two lives woven together as one. Silently, I wish you hope and love and peace, I wish the storms in your lives be few, I wish you a lifetime of happiness and wonder and awe, I wish that you will forever be bathed in the exquisite arms of love.
A rush of glorious, wordless joy washes over me and through me, as I am struck that I’ve just given you that ultimate gift of a mother’s love: that gift of letting you go, trusting that I’ve taught you well. No matter, that place you carved into my heart when you were born will never be erased. And that place will always be your home.
©Janet Mitchell, June 2012