What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting? ~George Eliot (1819–1880)
What is it like to grow a daughter and then see her get married?
Sort of like planting a seed, tending it all through maturity, and then at just that time, transplanting the plant into another garden, miles away, to finish growing?
(Dear Brogan, I grew a flower, and gave it to you. Love, Mom)
Sort of like building a house, furnishing it prettily, and giving it away? (giving, the most beautiful expression of love).
Sort of like getting married again, yourself? Reawakened memories, dreams, and expectations.
It’s huge. At times I felt like I was going to go crazy if the wedding didn’t just come and go…….because the emotions were almost unbearable. Dealing with them left me exhausted.
At times I wanted to push stop and rewind to when she was little. Do it all again. And again.
At times I wanted to push pause and keep her a little longer. Please?
Most of the time I was simply thankful in the giving. She’s not just my daughter, after all, she’s herself. She’s Grace. She’s bigger and deeper and higher and louder than “Shanda’s daughter”. I am truly inspired by her in every way. Her unshakeable love for her husband, her friends, her family. She loves well; in looks and little love notes, and tea, and music and books and service. Her quiet wisdom. Her sense of humor. Her “beauty on the inside”, her heart. Her strength and sensibilities. The things she’s interested in, the things we share. She’s made me a better woman in raising her and having her as my forever-daughter. She’s truly unique and special, as all of the children are.
The most difficult aspect is giving away that Grace-part of myself, letting go of something that was not only mine but part of me, the girl who came from her father and mother’s love. And yet, that giving, again, is deep-down joyful. True gifts aways satisfy the giver.
The best part is knowing that she and I? “We still got it”, ready to pick up and enjoy any ol’ time we want to. Mom and daughter…… are forever.
So anyways, here we are, a few weeks after The Wedding Day, and yesterday we got the link to the website which contains the professional wedding photos and I thought I would share some. There are so many, it was hard to chose, but these tugged on my heart-strings the most.
The morning of the wedding we drove to Brogan’s Grandmother’s beautiful home (the wedding was in Pennsylvania, where Brogan grew up and Grace attended college). Gemma did Grace’s hair, and Sierra drove to Dunkin’ with Sarah to get us breakfast sandwiches. Then we all got dressed in our finery.
Grace’s dress was a gift; Gemma was a bridal salon owner a few years ago and some of her dresses were still available there from that time. Grace was thrilled by the meaningfulness of wearing one of “Gemma’s Dresses”.
My own dress was serendipitously discovered at anthropologie just a week or so before the wedding. I had already chosen a dress, but Grace ended up liking this one better and it really did go along with the theme of the day, pink and wildflowers, and love like valentines.
The sisters were ready. Sarah was the Jr. Maid of Honor, a set of words which I can almost never get out of my mouth. I hope I wrote it correctly. Sierra and I both curled Sarah’s hair for her with a curling iron, she has a lot of hair but it holds curls very well.
Gemma got us “to the church on time” and Rich was waiting. The photographer did such a wonderful job of capturing the moment. Rich was very emotional throughout the day. His precious daughter’s wedding.
The ceremony was beautifully sacred.
I love the way Brogan treats Grace and people. He is respectful and courteous, and fun without being silly. He has a special maturity, despite his youth, that we admire and appreciate. I’ve mentioned before how these two can talk……and I also appreciate the depth and interest in their conversations, talking and visiting that way is such a day-brightener! I look forward to the times we will be together through the years. They are also comfortable in silence, and Brogan’s mom loves to tell the story of them reading together at her home for long periods of time, lost quietly in their books, yet together.
This is probably the most touching photo from the day, for me. Rich has a vulnerableness that not many people get to see. But I see it, I know who he is, he is my rock, steady and calm, and his love runs deep. During the most important family milestones, his calm exterior and demeanor reveals the honest emotion he has, in his love and gratitude, for his family. His wife and children mean everything to him.
My Dad and Mom, with all of us. No one was missing on this amazing day.
“What wondrous love is this, oh my soul”
Let’s be a comfortable couple and take care of each other… how glad we shall be that we have somebody we are fond of always to talk to and sit with! ~Charles Dickens
Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde
I am so teary reading this. How beautifully written and shared, Shanda. Grace’s gown is gorgeous on her. So happy for you all. God definitely multiplies the blessing, but I totally agree with the sentiments of wanting to do it all again. I am already feeling that way about my grandchildren! Theu grow so fast! The photos are beautiful. Love the one of you fastening her dress, it is precious. Love you!
You have such a beautiful way with words. I felt every word of it. What a beautiful tribute to your daughter, who she is, who she chose as a life partner, and a mother and father’s nurture and love.
Thank you for sharing your heart and this beautiful occasion with us. The pics are beautiful.
So beautiful! Thankyou for sharing! What a blessing for both families! One gains a beautiful daughter,one,a wonderful son. In the giving,there is the receiving. May your joy be forever full,and your heart forever greatful,as I know it must be!
This is beautiful. Do you know the Cecil Day-Lewis poem ‘Walking Away’? It’s a staple here in the UK of school exams and christenings. It is written from the perspective of a father remembering watching his son going off to play football 18 years before. It’s final two lines are ‘How selfhood begins with a walking away, And love is proved in the letting go’. You probably know it already but, just in case you don’t, it’s certainly worth looking up. Every best wish to the newly weds.
Beautiful day, beautiful people.
This post, and the photos that accompany it, reflect a beautiful love. Weddings bring families together, with each side gaining a new member — the love shown here will help to cement that togetherness! My best wishes to Grace and Brogan, and to your families.
I very much enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing. I find myself incredibly moved. Happiness for my old friends, but connecting very emotionally to pictures of Rich with Grace. If this is what I have to look forward to, I will be a wreak. Now I need to clean up my tears and get on, thanks a lot!!! Seriously though, this was awesome! Blessings to you all .
What a gift! And what a beautiful day! Such a blessing- the love of a spouse, children, parents and siblings. Thanks for sharing, Shanda. Blessings to Brogan and Grace and you all.
This is so beautiful and touching
You and your girl will become even better friends as the years go by. My TX daughter just left today after q 2 week visit. It was a crazy wonderful time as all her siblings and their familes came over to visit (and often arrived at mealtimes) I love feeding my family, but today I am tired, and a bit lonesome. Looking forward to Heaven where we will all be together forever.
That picture of Rich and Grace is so precious. Such great memories of an incredible day!
Beautiful post. Congratulations to Grace and Brogan!
Congratulations to your daughter and son in law,