There are times in life when you just keep moving forward, even though it becomes more difficult each day to swallow around the ever-present lump in your throat. You move and you go. You confer with your beautiful bride-to-be-daughter, and run to Hobby Lobby five hundred and forty two times in three days. You cut, you sew, you plan. You use a hot glue gun and burn your fingers. You organize, you arrange, you talk, and you try so very hard not to think too much about the lump in your throat - and the piece of your heart that is fighting the knowledge that life is about to change, and once more you have to let go.
You realize you cannot fathom how you got here. How did all that time go so quickly by? You know you tried to give it your all as a mom, and now you hope and pray it was your best. Softball games, vacations, homework, laughter, running together, crying with her, fighting for her, hoping and dreaming with her and the overwhelming knowledge of how much you love that woman, ever that baby, populates your dreams, and every tired moment when you are alone. And you avoid those times alone. You avoid sleep, because as happy as you are with knowing she will be in good hands when she becomes a wife, and as much joy as you know will belong to her wedding day, there is still a part of you that wants to reclaim those days that have passed way too fast.
As time flies by during the busy preparations, you often find yourself stopping to look at that beautiful woman, and her charming husband-to-be. You love them so much, but you have to quickly turn away and swallow the lump again. There is work to be done, and you cannot allow yourself to succumb to the bitter part of this bittersweet journey called life. You focus on the rejoicing - her happiness, her beautiful and bright future, the knowledge you will soon gain yet another son.
And yet, behind it you still see that tiny little face. Those baby hands signing “no” before she could actually speak. You hear her little three-year-old voice telling you why the only food she ever wants to eat is popcorn - "It tastes the best!" You remember the softball game, when she was playing first base in ninth grade. You could hardly believe she was a teenager, old enough to play for a high school team. And suddenly a sand-hill crane swooped down over the field, and all the girls stopped to watch it fly low, then soar to the heavens. And soon after, the inning was over, and your awesome fourteen-year-old first base player came running through the fence and yelled in excitement, “Hey Mommy! Did you see the Pterodactyl?” And you hear the laughter of the parents in the stands, but echoing in your mind is, “Hey Mommy, Hey Mommy, Hey Mommy!”
How did the time escape so quickly?
You shake it off, before the tears can flow. There is so much work to be done, and you want the day to be just perfectly perfect for her and her groom.
Suddenly, you find yourself standing next to your very handsome son, who has flown in for the wedding, and you see the church, and her groom standing at the front. And you swallow the lump hard, and bring yourself fully present into the moment. Because you know, YOU KNOW, this evening is going to fly by - and you want to capture it all so you can hold it in your heart forever. And you do. You have a wonderful time. You pray. You sing. You hug them both. You pose for pictures. You take pictures. And before you know it - everyone is holding streamers, and the joyful couple whisks through the streamer tunnel, jumps into the car, and drives away.
And you take a deep breath, and begin to clean up. Always moving forward. Never thinking too much.
The next day you head home. And, for the first time in a week, you sit down. You contemplate. And finally, you allow the tears to flow. They are tears of sorrow for how quickly precious time has flown, and they are mingled with tears of joy, because you saw how completely happy your baby was on that very special day.