Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)
TITLE: Matrimonial Musings
By sandra hoolihan
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I have always loved springtime weddings. I especially love the flowers on display today: white Easter lilies opened like trumpets declaring the joyous event, pink and blue hydrangeas hiding the thin stems of the lilies, while yellow mums and green ivy fill in the open spaces. The effect is beautiful and has transformed the altar into a colorful and fragrant indoor garden. This wedding, however, has special meaning for me. In less than five minutes my only child will be walking down the aisle to marry her high school sweetheart, Seth. She is only twenty-five years old. She is still a baby. How could the time have gone by so quickly? Surely, I didn’t seem that young to my mother when I was a young bride.
I turn to look at my mother sitting next to me straight and tall in her wheelchair with her eyes closed, entranced by the song. She was always so particular about the importance of good posture. At eighty-five years old, she has aged so gracefully. Her hair now fully white, pulled back in a low neat bun. When she lost Daddy after forty-five years of marriage I had assumed that she would fade like the flowers in her shop that were past their bloom. She proved me wrong and taught me how to embrace life’s sunset with brilliance.
Suddenly I snap out of my hypnotic state as the as the organist begins to play the Wedding March. I didn’t realize I was gazing at my mother while lost in my thoughts. She gives me a knowing smile and then touches my arm as a way to remind me to stand for the bride’s procession. As I turn toward the double doors in the back of the church, the ushers simultaneously open them to display the two loves of my life: My husband Mark and daughter Katy.
Twenty-seven years ago I was a young bride heading down the aisle to stand next to Mark in this same church. I remember the doors opening up a view of all my loved ones including family members, friends and the important people in Mark’s life that I wasn’t yet aware would be so important to me over the years. Mrs. Gardner was one of those people. She was Mark’s babysitter as he grew up and as our lives progressed, her daughter babysat for Katy. She provided home-made casseroles when I spent a week in the hospital and Mark was left at home to feed a young child and himself. She patiently taught Katy how to play the piano. Everyone in this room has contributed to our lives up until this point and, no doubt, will be involved in the moments to come.
Mark and Katy have made their way to the front and I can see Mark has what I call “the look.” Unnoticeable to most, I can see the look of panic and confusion behind his eyes as he is being asked to hand over his most prized possession. Mark bends down to give Katy a kiss and I see the tear slide down his face. I’m crying too, but also secretly laughing having won the bet we wagered this morning over breakfast. I knew he would shed at least one tear during the wedding. He catches my smirk, wipes the tear with the back of his hand then sits next to me and holds my hand tighter than necessary.
Katy is giddy with excitement. She giggles at Mark’s nervousness and casually intertwines her fingers with Seth as they turn toward the altar. She seems invincible. She has a lifetime ahead of her and I watch with amazement as my brave girl enters the next chapter of her life.
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