When I started blogging it was to preserve for my daughter my thoughts and her days as a young child. And so this post is dedicated to that.
The other day when I was cleaning out a closet in our guest room, my preschooler spotted a large white garment bag hanging on the rack. She asked what it was and all the sudden I thought… Oh my gosh! How fun to be four years old and play dress up in a real wedding dress! I must get it out for her. I searched through the closet further, where was the veil? Found it.
And in less than 5 minutes my preschooler was wearing my wedding dress staring up at me with sweet innocent eyes. Instantly I was awash in so many emotions. Of course the cuteness factor was at an all time high – so there was that. But also, there was a pain in my stomach, or maybe it was higher. Maybe it was my heart breaking a little.
Someday my daughter will probably get married. And I hope and pray that her dad and I will be there. But when I got married I didn’t have my mother with me physically – though she was certainly there in spirit. And that made me pause – what if I only had today to tell her what I would want to say on that day? And so dear reader this may be verbose. But this is too important to keep short…
~A letter to my Daughter on her Wedding Day~
First of all sweets, you read this letter any old time you want. You don’t ever need to get married to be important, or to be loved or to have everything I say here already be true. But since you are likely to get married someday, and that is an important day in anyone’s life – that is the hook I am hanging this particular letter on. But if you feel called to stay single, or to a religious vocation, or cannot legally get married. This letter is still for you ok, baby?
I hope first of all that you have found true love. Found it in yourself, and then in a friend and partner. But know always – that you have always had true love. You had it the day you were born. Mom & Dad love you unconditionally. We love you no matter what. We love you on your best days, and we love you the same on your worst. You know you are loved not just by us, but many people. You should know you are loved by God. And no matter how you choose to see God at this point in your life, whether you go to church every week or whether you are searching. Just know. You are loved. You are loved by those of us on this earth, and those of us not. And you are loved by God from the top of your head, to the tip of your toes. And learning to feel that love takes a lifetime for many. Your mom is in that group. But the trick is to keep trying, keep your heart open. That is the promise I want you to make me ok?
Okay so marriage – it’s hard. Its so great! It’s kind of a microcosm life. There is a little bliss, and a little heart ache. But the heart ache will make the sweet times seem so much sweeter. And the the rough moments will teach you about yourself. Every marriage is a deep and dark puzzle. Two people both with baggage, both with expectations, both with needs and wants. You will need to learn to weigh your needs against someone else and their needs. It cant always be your way bug. Wanting it to be your way is human, and it does not make you a bad person. But you will need to put that aside sometimes – and do whats best for your partner. But baby, listen. Your partner needs to do that sometimes too – and if its always you that bends than marriage is not the right path today. And it is okay to change your mind.
A wedding day is filled with dresses and out of town family, cake and choas. So be deliberate about taking moments through the day that you just breathe. That you let yourself feel and remember the moment rather than just be swept up in it. Take time with your partner to savor the sweetness just the two of you. Take some mental snapshots of friends and family gathered in your name- supporting your love, supporting you. See them laughing and dancing and remember that always. Tell them thank you for being there.
I can tell you are a smart cookie, even at age four. So I know I wont need to remind you someday, that a marriage isn’t about the wedding day – its about a lifetime commitment. But maybe its worth telling you that marriages have stages. There will be times that things just sail along so easily, you will just lean back and enjoy the journey. But no matter how wonderful the person you married is – there will also be times that you wonder just what you got yourself into. Thats why its so important that you only marry someone that you know well, who you know to be a good person, who you know respects and loves you. Who you know you respect and love. And also- that you marry someone who will also take their vows seriously. In the tough moments, you will both need to believe in those vows. Only that iron clad commitment will carry you through the bumpy bits. And that is so important because if you can keep it together through the bumpy bits – you can be sure that your relationship will come out of it stronger and more beautifully layered in the end. And the rough patches wont last forever if you both keep searching each other out, keep connecting with each other and keep being kind to one another. Better times will be around the corner. But to get there – you have to be committed to waiting it out.
Lastly – don’t neglect your relationship with yourself. You cant give yourself up on the altar of a relationship with another person. It may not always seem logical, but the older I get the more I realize that my own happiness is almost always directly proportional to the happiness of my family. And not taking care of your own needs, and passions wont lead you to support others happiness and passion.It will just make you a bitter person. So enjoy being with yourself. Enjoy the little moments in life that fill your cup. And then let that internal happiness and care spill over to your partner. It sounds easy. But its not. Often you will forget what makes you laugh or smile because you will get so busy trying to provide that for your partner or your children. And wanting to give your best to your family is wonderful. And frankly its a feeling passed down to you through many generations of women in our family. But just sometimes – take stock of how you are doing yourself. Care for yourself too, ok?
A lifetime of advice cant come from one note. So I wont try to cover everything here and now. And you don’t need me to. What you most need sweet daughter, is just to remember that you will find all the answers you need from your own trial and error. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to get up each morning with the desire to do better, be kinder, to love deeper, to laugh harder. If you can just point your ship towards that… you will always be moving in the right direction.
Remember how proud mom and dad are of you. Remember that you are always our baby, and you can always ask for our help.