In a week Dwayne and I will be heading to Texas for the wedding of the century … well, for us, anyway. Our daughter, Kate, is getting married on June 22.
I told my staff, “no crises in churches are allowed now, not until after the wedding.” I told the chair of the Committee on Ministry when she wanted to talk to me about a church last night, “there’s nothing you can tell me that will take this smile off my face.” Right now, all I want is to wallow in the excitement and in the joy. I want to feel the happiness I share with my daughter and son-in-law from my head to my toes … and I want to dwell in it.
I can’t imagine a more perfect partner for my daughter. Ben and Kate share many interests and activities … performing, gaming, rock climbing, movies, bicycling, comedy, music … yet their personalities complement each other, and their character challenges each other to be and become all they hope and dream together. They bring out the best in each other; and they support each other. In researching our family histories for “the book”, I learned that our ancestors are of the same mind and heart, the families reach back to Ireland, Italy and Germany, the religious foundations are Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Atheist, Agnostic, Spiritualist and Jewish, but the people are the same: hard workers, good (and, dare I say, some quite prolific) parents, and dreamers. They come from a long line of lasting marriages. It’sñ a good match, as Yenta, the matchmaker, would say.
I have been dwelling in memories by looking through photos of Kate throughout her childhood, I’ve been reminded of the days she played in the piles of raked leaves, the day she learned to ride her bike and was heard screaming down our street “We’re going to Macinaw!” I remember her dance recitals and band concerts, her first time on stage at the BLT auditioning for “Secret Garden”, her wondering when she’d ever have a boyfriend, her memorable season playing soccer, her science fair and history fair projects, her Halloween costumes, her stuffed animal weddings, our vacations together … And the list goes on. I smile when I remember, and I smile when I see Kate and Ben together …
To appreciate the fullness of emotion that fills this mother of the bride, though, I have to acknowledge the sorrow as well … like her first day of school, her first date, her high school graduation, the day we moved her to UNT … there is a sadness in letting go. Though Kate has been a responsible adult for years (Kate was always older than her years), until her wedding day there is still a primacy in the mother/daughter bond. Her father and I are her “closest” family. We will never stop being mom and dad, but on June 22 we will yield our primary place in her life to her husband. It’s the culmination of parenthood, in many ways … this letting go. It’s a day of great joy, of course, but it is tinged with loss as well.
I’ve been practicing saying “son-in-law” and thinking of her as Kate Farmer instead of Katie Bailey … It’s getting easier, sounding more right than wrong. I’m glad we’re able to welcome Ben to the family as well … I have liked him since the first day I realized Kate was “twitterpated” by him, the night we spent hours talking about our shared desire for time travel, and seeing his face light up when Kate’s around. And over the past year he has moved from like to love … From Kate’s boyfriend to my son-in-law, from friend to family.
Nine days now … Nine days to enjoy, to soak in the celebration, to smile, and to shed those tears of both joy and sadness … As we prepare for a new stage of life together.