50: Something Old, Something New

50: Something Old, Something New

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Something Old, Something New

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

~Old English Rhyme

I woke long before the summer sun kissed the world good morning. I was unusually calm considering I was the quintessential worrier — the poster child for Murphy’s Law. But on that Saturday in July, my daughter’s wedding day, I was blessed with peace amid the nuptial chaos. From beginning to end, the carefully planned details were joined together in holy matrimony, which God let nothing put asunder.

And then it happened. Sunday evening, the “wedding high” came crashing down like lightning in a sudden summer thunderstorm. What in the world went wrong? She’d had the something old, something new, something borrowed, but now… I was the something blue. No warnings were posted in bridal magazines, no therapists present at bridal shows. Not even The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Weddings had prepared me for the hollowness I felt. My baby girl would be living across the river instead of down the hall. Just a walk down the aisle and a couple of “I dos” had left me alone in a home full of testosterone.

The sobfests I held in my daughter’s honor outnumbered the days of her honeymoon. My first trip to the grocery store spawned a slight meltdown. I’d never have to buy low-acid, no-pulp orange juice again, and I could roll my cart right past the chocolate Pop-Tarts without hesitation. The laundry also had me sniffling. There was no need to mark the socks with a K; the only girl socks left were mine. I’d wander into her bedroom just to smell her. I even held her wedding gown up to me and stood in front of the mirror. I guess I was hoping to see her looking back.

After almost a month of my moping, one of the boys let me have it. “Geez, Mom, she only got married. She didn’t die.” His words were an alarm clock jolting me from the darkness. I realized our relationship hadn’t died; it had merely changed. The ties that bound us were not broken, but stretched enough to accommodate growth. My head had to convince my heart that it was okay that she’d grown… from my child into a woman and a wife. I just needed to quit wallowing and grow up, too.

I forged ahead with my pre-wedding plans to turn her bedroom into a scrapbooking room, allowing myself one display of baby-to-bride pictures arranged on a bulletin board. Not too shrine-ish, I thought. As I busied the days creating a wedding scrapbook, contentment began to seep into the emptiness. Life seemed to bloom around me again. Although I managed to climb out of my poor-me pit, her absence was still evident; there are certain things you just need another girl for. Lord knows, those boys would never know “which shoes look best with this outfit.”

In time, across the river didn’t seem quite so far, and grown we have… into a mother and grandmother, bearing new ties to expand and mature. And if one day her daughter is standing at the back of the church, clutching her father’s arm and waiting to walk down the aisle, I pray she’ll be blessed with the same peace and joy I received from heaven on that perfect summer day.

~Lela Foos

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