Well, I guess she is not such a baby anymore. She’s 26. And a half. (But who’s counting; certainly not her mother!)
Of course, I have known about Emily’s upcoming nuptials for a while. She got engaged last year, just before Christmas. And she’s getting married a few days before this Christmas. I have a home video of her at eighteen months, rounding the corner to the Christmas tree wearing a pink onesie with Rudolph and his red nose on the front, and as she sees the presents, putting her hands on her belly and saying, “Ho, ho, ho!” She’s the only person I know who does not get annoyed that Christmas decorations hit the stores in September. She has always loved the season.
At her Christmas wedding, instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles, guests will throw snowflakes. Her colors are – you guessed it – red and green. And she has been planning these details before she even had a groom.
Weddings mark a milestone. They are a significant event in a person’s life. And for that person’s mother, it may be just as significant. I have known my baby isn’t a baby anymore for a long time. She hasn’t lived with me for almost a decade. She’s gone through college, bought a car, and started a career. I’m proud of her. Maybe I’m even a little envious. She has a chance to get it right.
I have a large mixed bag of feelings as “our” special day approaches. I have not seen the ex in many years, and he will be there with his wife who is 30 years younger. I will be there with my date who is 30 years older; my Daddy in his rented tux. Emily’s fiancée is a great guy: just the right balance of charming, geeky, intelligent, and forthright. They are well-suited. He is not what I’m scared about. Life is.
I’ve been to a few weddings in the last thirteen years since my own divorce. I always get a little teary-eyed. But this one is different. This is my first baby. I have a stake in this game. I want – no, need her to be happy. She can’t get her heart broken. She deserves vast amounts of joy. She should have a life that could be pictured on a schmaltzy Hallmark card. Yet I know how rare that truly is.
I guess in the end, all a mother can do is hope and wish for the very best. There will be bumps on Emily’s road. There are on all of our roads. I can’t assign my trepidations to a life and future that is not mine to possess, nor can I protect her from her own troubles, large or small. I will always be there for her in all the ways that I can. Ultimately we all have to row our own boats, weathering the dark storms and celebrating the glorious sunrises and sunsets along the way.
Sail on, my beautiful baby.