My hand shook slightly as I pinned a white rose on the lapel of my son’s tuxedo. “Are you ready?” I asked.
“I am,” Matthew said. “I’m glad today’s finally here.” Eight months prior he’d proposed to his high school sweetheart. Together they’d planned and prayed for this day. Nearly 150 family and friends had arrived to celebrate with them, and the ceremony was about to begin.
I stepped back and surveyed my 22-year-old son. He towered over me, tall and confident, strikingly handsome in black and white. He’s ready, I thought. But am I? Am I prepared to step aside and assume a role of lesser importance in his life?
A myriad of images flashed through my mind: the newborn gulping air and letting out a hearty cry; the preschooler posing for the camera, holding a wiggly garter snake by its tail; the child digging a “hole to China” in our vegetable garden; the grade-school student perfecting his science project for the school fair; and the teenager driving the family car alone for the first time.
I’d baked this boy’s birthday cakes and bandaged his scraped knees. I’d read him bedtime stories, cheered at his baseball games and boasted about his awards. I’d played the role of leading woman in his life; now it would be different.
In a few minutes, he would take his place at the marriage altar. He would watch his veiled bride walk the aisle toward him, then take her from her father’s arm. He would hold her hands, promise to cherish her forever, slip a gold ring onto her finger and seal his vow with a kiss. His heart would be knit to hers, and rightfully so.
Am I ready for this? I asked myself again.
Ready or not, the time has come, came the reply. Love Matthew enough to let him go. And love the young woman who has captured his affection. Embrace her as a daughter, value her as a friend. And all will be well.
“Are you ready?” Matthew asked me.
“I am,” I said. “But, please, I need one last hug.”
Grace Fox lives with her husband and family in Heriot Bay, B.C.