I haven't had time yet to sit and think through it all. I want to make time to write, but there are other, more pressing concerns.
But this one thing, I can talk about. It caught me completely off guard.
I knew there would be beautiful moments of togetherness. We just did this last year with Shannon, and though they are VERY different girls who wanted different things for their wedding day, some things would remain. I knew we'd have a few moments of tenderness - some spontaneous, and others planned for the photographer. I knew my heart would swell, and I was certain I'd cry.
But this one thing happened and it floored me, and really prepared me for all that was to come.
With the wedding in our back yard, we were incredibly blessed to have the convenience and hospitality of my mother-in-law's house in what is, essentially, our front yard. It was there that the girls would dress and prepare, where her daddy would pick her up and guide her to aisle that led to Max.
The girls came back to our house from the hairdresser and Sarah was focused, ready to get busy. I'm sure she was nervous, too; but what I saw was determination. She gathered a few things, we noticed the time (we were already off schedule) and then we headed out the door to Louise's house.
|Sarah, 90 minutes before her wedding.|
She took off. She didn't wait for me - she didn't need to. She walked with purpose and determination, like she knew her destination. She didn't rush or hurry; she just moved efficiently and deliberately.
The girl had places to go and people to see. And she walked, on her own, to get ready.
To be sure, I don't know what she was thinking in that moment. Maybe nothing much at all, other than Holy crap it is so HOT! But here's what I was thinking, as I walked behind her:
There she goes.
There goes my girl.
There's my first-born, my daughter.
That's the little 4 pound 15 ounce, five-weeks-early baby that broke my heart into a million joy-filled pieces.
She knows what she wants.
She knows what she needs.
She knows how deep, how wide, how vast is the Love that holds and helps her.
She doesn't need me; not in this moment.
She's walking away, quite literally - and not just into the arms of a man.
This is her life; she has chosen this next step, and she's moving forward into this new season.
The decision has been made, the course has been set.
There she goes.
That's my girl.
My heart cracked again, some 24 years into this motherhood thing; but it was filled with the joy and delight that only a maternal heart knows. She and I are intertwined, as any mother and daughter might be, and perhaps in a few more complicated ways as well. There are tiny fissures in the deep love we have for one another - made from the weight of circumstances and the burdens of others and, sometimes, simply from the stress and strain of the human experience.
I know this: A cracked heart lets in light and shows you what you need to see, the truth that sometimes waits behind the walls we build through time and experience and worry and our default mechanisms for getting through life. Sarah Brawley walked towards her destiny as Sarah Philips, and in the few yards of an open field she pressed on towards what was ahead. She left me behind, but beyond any perceived sorrow is a fierce mix of pride and love and incredible fondness for one of the most incredible women in my life.
Who just happens to be my daughter.
"I've got my eye on the goal...I'm off and running,
and I'm not turning back." (Philippians 3.14)