To my daughter, the bride

My grandmother always said the older you get the faster time flies. Lately, I’ve come to think she was right.
Seems like only yesterday my baby girl was born. We knew she would be the last because prior to her, I had lost twins and had an ectopic pregnancy. She was born the Saturday before Easter that year after being in labor for 13 hours. They say labor gets shorter with each child, but for me it was the opposite; each one got longer.
Because of her brothers and sisters, along with us as parents, she was a very spoiled daughter. That sometimes can be disastrous but Cally turned out to be all right and doesn’t act spoiled.
Saturday, she will become Mrs. Jeffrey Chapman at the gazebo David built next to the pond in the back yard. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster this whole year. So many changes. But I couldn’t be happier for Cally and Jeff. I could not have picked a better son-in-law and I didn’t. I prayed for him for several years.
Cally was into the bad boys for a while which drove me crazy. So I began praying for God to send her a godly man. Enter Jeff. Jeff was completely different. Kind, caring and he treats Cally like a queen. He stands behind her and he holds her when she needs it. He has become like my son and was certainly the answer to my prayers.
They have been dating for quite a while and engaged almost five years, so I think they know what they want and I believe they will defy the odds and remain married through life’s ups and downs.
My daughter, Cally, is not only my daughter but one of my best friends. If I want to know the absolute truth about something, Cally is the one I go to because she holds no punches. Honest as the day is long, she would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it.
At Christmas, we went shopping for a family in need. Something we had done before over the years. This time Cally wanted to pay for it all as I had done so many times in the past.
She manages money better than most, has an excellent credit rating and also knows the value of saving money. I wish I had been that wise when I was her age. I wasn’t.
Saturday will be bittersweet for her as her father died when she was 13 years old and I have seen that weigh heavy on her heart. I know he will be looking down from heaven and will be smiling, right along with my father and her other grandparents.
We have put so much time and energy into this wedding the last few months. David built the gazebo and we have been working on the yard and house. Like most brides, Cally has been stressing, but I know that it is going to be a beautiful wedding and she will be a gorgeous bride.
I remember her first steps and her first day of school, her first date and the first time she drove the car by herself. Then came her first job outside of the newspaper and then high school graduation. So many memories come flooding in.
Now she is taking that leap into womanhood and being independent and sharing her life with Jeff.
I’ve thought about it for months now. What can I say to my daughter who is getting married? I can’t even explain how deep my love is for her or how proud I am of the woman she has become but I will try to offer a few words of advice.
First and foremost, put God first. Everything else will fall into place. Always love each other and communicate. Many marriages have suffered for lack of communication. Talk about everything, even the difficult subjects. Laugh and laugh a lot. Laughter truly is medicine for the soul.
Forgiveness is a necessary part of marriage. It’s not always going to be wine and roses. Sometimes it’s hard and it’s never really 50/50. Whoever said that, apparently had never been married. Sometimes you give more, other days you take more. It’s give and take. You will make mistakes and there will be days when you will have arguments. Move forward and don’t remember it once it’s over.
Marriage does not define who you are, so stay true to yourself and don’t let it change your heart. That means that sometimes you have to put the needs of your spouse ahead of yours. He will have to do the same at times.
Don’t stress Saturday. Enjoy the day and breathe deeply throughout the day. It’s a once in a lifetime event and it will be beautiful. I knew this day would come and you have thought about it most of your life as well. Thank you for including me in so many of the preparations and plans.
I don’t pretend I’ve been the perfect mother, because in reality I don’t think there is any such thing. You just do the best you can and pray, pray, pray and let God do the rest.
You may have outgrown my lap but you will never outgrow my heart. I am proud of the confident woman you are and I wish you nothing but a lifetime of happiness. Don’t get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Life is a journey and it constantly changes. Enjoy the adventure and love those who make time to be in your life. Sometimes you even have to let family go if they are affecting your peace and joy in life. Always give everything to God because He can do what you never can. When in doubt, pray.
Live your life, my baby girl, enjoy Saturday and remember you can always call your mom, no matter what. I can’t cram a lifetime of advice in this column space, so I will stop for now. Blessings to you and Jeff, Cally. Not just on your wedding day but every day. I love you to the moon and back.©2016

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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