A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My New Revelation--Weddings are a Bittersweet Moment

I've always thought of Christian weddings as a joyous, happy time full of festivity, solemn, holy moments, and family time. I still do. But I've discovered that for some, they are also times of confusing thoughts and feelings.

On October 2nd, my oldest daughter walked down the aisle. She was the first of my children to marry. She has always been a fan of elegance, so the church was elegantly and tastefully decorated with a lighted arch trimmed in greens and white tulle. The reception hall lights were dimmed just enough to enhance the beautiful vases of roses surrounded by candles on tables that had been sprinkled with rose petals and Hershey kisses and the smell of the petals filled the room.

Throughout the room, the sweet sound of classical music, played by a live violinist, added a delightful ambiance to the occasion. Round tables held groups of people and created an intimate atmosphere. My daughter looked lovely in her ivory gown and lace veil decorated with seed beads and embroidered flowers that sparkled when the light hit the opaque sequins attached to each flower. Her hair was swept up and back. Her face glowed in the candlelight. I've never seen her so happy.

I'm not an exceptionally emotional person. I did okay until I thought about my hubby. She has always been and always will be his "little girl." They had always had a great relationship. No rebellious teen years or awkward tween years had ever occurred. She was our only child until she was 8 years old and even after the babies started coming in rapid succession, he always had time to spoil, pamper and cuddle her. Even after she was on her own, she would text or call her Dad often. When she came to visit, the first person she went to was her Daddy. She never outgrew his lap or his arms.

When she was just days old, he would hurry through his work so that he could hold her. He wouldn't even have his coveralls off before he was holding out his arms and saying "give her to me, give her to me."

So as he walked with her on his arm towards a young man who was also saying "give her to me", I could tell his heart was greatly conflicted. I was happy for her, happy that she had found such a wonderful man to marry, but sad that my hubby's heart was breaking as he gave her away.

My husband has performed numerous weddings over the years, but this one was different. He did really well until.....he looked at me. My whole family was in the wedding, so I was sitting on a long row of chairs all by myself. The impact of how her life was changing at that very moment hit me full in the face and the emotion of that realization sent tears (happy and tentative) streaming down my face. It was all I could do to keep from sobbing. I also realized how this moment would impact our lives, especially my husband's, and it was an uncomfortable thought. I must have looked quite pitiful because the moment he saw me, he cried which made my daughter cry and then the groom joined in for good measure.

At the reception, in lieu of a father-daughter dance, (a courtesy to brothers and sisters in Christ whom it might offend), my daughter had prepared a father-daughter slide show of her growing up with Daddy set to a song that that she had long wanted at her wedding. My daughter stood beside her Dad, her arm looped through his, her head on his shoulder, as they watched the show together. Again, the tears came. It seemed like only yesterday that she had been the size of that little girl in the slide show. Admittedly, I don't understand the emphasis on father-daughters, mothers-sons at weddings, but I confess, I felt, just for a brief moment, a bit left out. My heart was breaking too.

Then I realized that I had done a good job. I had raised her right. From the time that she was born, I had taught her that her Dad was the most important man in the world who had the most important job in the world. When he was gone a lot, we never complained. When he was home, we celebrated. From day one, I always told her "make sure you marry a man just like your Dad." She always knew and trusted that Daddy knew best. She always knew how much her Daddy loved her because both he and I would tell her--often. She has always been "Daddy's girl". Because he had been her hero, she had avoided all the pitfalls that so many young women fall into when looking for love and she entered her new marriage just as we had hoped. It blessed me to see her honoring her Dad. He is so deserving of that honor, even though for me and him, the tears were once again for times now passing away forever.

Once everything was cleaned up and put away, I collapsed on my bed physically and mentally exhausted. My daughter and I had been in constant contact for the two weeks before the wedding. I was her "gopher." I would "go for" this and "go for" that. And she lived with us for two months before the wedding and it felt good to have all my children in the house once again. I got used to the feeling. For the last couple of days before the wedding, she had needed and depended on me more than she had for several years and now that was all ending. She left on her honeymoon and didn't even look back. That is how it should have been. For the first time since she was just a newborn babe, we were no longer the ones solely responsible for her. We were no longer the ones she loved primarily. Life with her, as we had known it, would no longer be the same. Once again, the tears came. My husband, who rarely sees me cry laid down on the bed beside me and just wrapped me in his big, strong arms. Soon I felt his body quivering as well and together, we just laid there and cried together. Neither of us knew quite why we were crying. Maybe we will understand later, but it was a very emotional moment.

Perhaps we cried because our child was happy, healthy, and on her way to a lifetime of joy with the man she loved.

Perhaps we cried because some things would never be the same again and for us, a stage of life had come to an end. Yet, still other stages are now on the horizon that will bring us great joy.

Perhaps we cried because we finally had to face that our little girl was not little any more.

Perhaps we cried because we had received a Godly son in the form of our new son-in-law.

Perhaps we cried because all the months of working extremely hard, even in a drought year, had miraculously yielded us the finances we had promised her to help pay for her wedding even though we so wished we could have given her more.

Perhaps it was just a combination of all those things. The only word that I can think of to describe it is bittersweet.

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