25: My Mother, My Father, My Everything

25: My Mother, My Father, My Everything

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: For Mom, with Love

My Mother, My Father, My Everything

She raised us with humor, and she raised us to understand that not everything was going to be great — but how to laugh through it.

~Liza Minnelli

It was the happiest day of my life. I was dressed in a long, white gown with a train that filled the room and glass slippers on my feet like Cinderella on her way to the ball. My mother’s pearls floated around my neck and an old handkerchief made by my great grandmother resided on my heart. A new veil with scattered pearls to match my dress was tucked into my twists and curls; a borrowed tiara was the perfect accessory and a blue garter was hidden under the layers of fabric, beads and crinoline.

My mother stood where a father should be, beaming with pride. Although I did not have a father to walk me down the aisle, give me away or share the traditional father/daughter dance, I did not feel slighted. My mother had always played both roles as a mother and a father to my brothers and me. She hugged and disciplined us. She helped with homework and shared our joy when we passed a test. She taught us how to love each other even when we were pulling hair or fighting over a toy. She taught us the importance of family. She was, to us, our everything — and still is today.

My husband, Nick, proposed to me when I was twenty-five. My mother asked if I would like my older brother or my uncle to walk me down the aisle. I responded with, “No Mom, you have always been my mom and my dad and you are the only one who can give me away.”

The morning of my wedding day passed quickly. My mother never left my side. She was there for hair, make-up, and helping me put my gown on. Once I was ready, my mom and I stood alone. She was dressed in a long, pale blue spaghetti-strapped dress that made her look thirty years younger and more like a bridesmaid than the mother of a twenty-six-year-old bride. She was beautiful. She knew all the right words to say to calm my nerves and assure me that everything would be okay. No one else could have taken her place.

The tears did not begin for either of us until my pastor said it was time for her to give me away. At that moment it became real to both of us; I was really getting married. As we embraced, the room full of people disappeared and it was only my mom and me. Silent promises were exchanged. This is not a farewell, Mom, this is not the end; this is a new beginning and I am not leaving you behind.

Since my mom and I broke all the traditional rules, we kept the theme going with our mother/daughter dance. It was a medley of a few songs that told our story. Starting with “Shall We Dance,” a song we often danced to in the kitchen at home, moving onto “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and finishing with “Last Dance.”

My wedding, much like my life, was not ordinary or normal. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to laugh when I wanted to cry, encouraging me to write even though I was shy, for loving me with the strength of two parents and above all, for being there.

~Natalie Scott

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