And Then They Were Married

4 years ago
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Yesterday was full.

Full of emotion. Full of family. Full of travel. Full of tears. Full of joy.

Ben and Adalia were giddy with joy and excitement during the ceremony. Most eyes stayed dry until the father/daughter dance. Tears streamed down Chuck's face as he danced with our firstborn. I held Apollo, my youngest child as Chuck danced with our first child. My other children sat in a row, quietly crying. The lyrics of the song were perfect:

Remember, I held her first. I was there when she took her first breath.

Adalia is the child who made us parents. Eighteen years ago we held our tiny six pound baby in our arms. A precious miracle we had made ourselves. I remember marveling over her perfect little face, her tiny body. She was half me and half Chuck. Is there anything on earth more miraculous than that? A miniature human, made and born of our love?  We vowed to keep her safe and happy and promised her we would always protect her. I was 20 and Chuck was 23.

My heart feels tender and raw. Exposed. Not quite protected or tucked away inside where it belongs.

I am so happy for Adalia. Ben has set the bar high for my other daugthers' potential suitors. I cannot fathom "giving" my daughter to a man who I didn't love and respect. Ben has proved himself over and over to me and Chuck. But is a child who you have loved and protected for 18 years. You have encouraged her, wiped away her tears. You are there when she is happy and when she is sad.  She is everything to you. Everything. Her and her siblings.

And then you hand her over to the man she loves. Why is there no word in the English language for that feeling? To hand over the most precious gift you've ever been given. To trust another with your child? To let your child go, to soar. To triumph and to fail. And to do all of that with another person. To gracefully bow out. To back away. To let them create their own life together.

There are no words.

I am happy.

My heart is raw and tender.