Monday, November 10, 2014

Mixed Emotions

I never thought it could be possible but it is.  You can actually experience sadness and joy at the same time but it can be a good thing.

This is a picture of my beautiful daughter Jennifer when she was 3 years old and oh my, was she a little princess!  You can't see them very well in this picture but she was always wearing patten leather shoes or saddle shoes and we were never allowed to leave the house without her purse, even though there was never much in it.  She was all about pink, flowers and dresses - until about the time she started middle school.


Two weeks ago this now 24 year old married her sweetheart in a beautiful ceremony with family and close friends surrounding them and it truly was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  My joy for Jennifer and Richie was overflowing as I watched and listened as they covenanted with each other and Heavenly Father to be married for time and all eternity and to live their lives in accordance to His will.  It was a glorious day indeed and one that I will reflect on often over the years because it is the beginning of their family and it will be one of the joys of my life to watch them grow together!

Can I just say that giving away a daughter in marriage has been different for me than giving away a son and that it has been hard?  I love my boys with all my heart and I am so happy that they each found wonderful women to share their lives with.  I love their wives like they were my own daughters and I already love Richie like he were my own son.  He is a good and gentle man that will take care of and love Jennifer with his whole heart and he will be faithful to her as she surely will do the same for him.

This post is certainly not meant to make mother's who don't have daughters feel like they are missing out or that their feelings are not as defined and important as what I am trying to express just because they don't have daughters.  I believe that mothers of son's can have the same anxieties and feelings of loneliness that I am trying to express here.   This is just MY experience in dealing with the reality of children growing up - specifically my daughter. 

A few weeks before Richie and Jennifer's wedding day I started feeling some sadness but it is not for the reasons that most might think.  What I have been feeling is hard to explain and I'm not sure that even I can express the emotions that have been flowing through me but I want to try because it has affected me in a way that has moved me deeply as a mother.

Since long before October 24th, 2014 I have thought about and prayed for answers as to why I have been feeling this disconnect and sadness regarding Jennifer that I didn't feel with my sons and I have tried to figure out why this was happening to me.  I want to share a few of the thoughts that have been bumping around in my head but I won't be sharing all of them - just the most important ones that seem to have really kept me thinking! 

Is it because she changed her last name which really changes her identity as a whole and she is now the member of another family too and we take a backseat?  No, I want her to feel loved by everyone and the idea that she has this new and exciting life and wonderful family to join herself with is happy news for me.  They will surely be blessed to have her in their circle and will love the light that she is.  

Am I worried that now I am even further down the chain of people she will seek for advice or call when she has exciting news?  Maybe, nobody wants to feel like they have been demoted but what a blessing for her to have a wonderful mother and father-in-law to lean on and go to when she needs help or in times of joy.  I have also prayed for a good family to share everything with so this can't be the cause of my distress.  

Could it be that I feel like my mothering of her is over because one day she will be a mother herself and that she just doesn't need me in that way anymore?  Perhaps, but if I have done everything in my power to teach her what I think she needs to know to BE a wonderful mother then this should not be a weight on my mind.  Not that I am a great mother, it's just that hopefully in this one responsibility in my life, other than being a wife, I hope that I haven't messed up too badly.  In my mind these are the two most important roles in life.  And she will always need me, right?

Holidays will not be the same.  Jennifer has spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas with us for 24 years - that will now change as she will be spending some holidays with her new family.  If I am truly a giving and loving person I would not feel like I am somehow missing out because of course, it's not all about me, it's about Jennifer, Richie and their happiness!

I have also thought:

Why isn't my husband feeling these same feelings and crying at the drop of a hat?  That just doesn't seem right to me!  

Did this happen to my mother and if so, why didn't she warn me?

I think I know why I have been having trouble and it came to me yesterday as I had the opportunity to just sit in peace and quiet with no interruptions or noise from anything or anyone else.  Are you ready?  It really is a beautiful thing.

My heart is full because I know that all the things that I have prayed for, planned for, hoped for, spent hours preparing for, crying over, being sick over, laughing over and sweating over have now come to pass.  Jennifer is married.  She has done it the right way, in the right place, with the right person and she has completed this most important step in her growth and maturity in this life.  

How could I feel anything more than complete happiness over her?   All these emotions are not because it is a let down after the wedding or a release of stress but a deep and powerful joy that she is where she should be and WITH the person who God created for her.  Nothing beats that feeling for a mother or a father.

I'm grateful that Jennifer found someone to share her life with that will honor, protect, love, support, tease her, do everything he can to make her happy and be her best friend forever.  The look in her eyes when she talks about or sees Richie is beautiful and you can feel that love that she has for him.  She is crazy about him! 

Richie and Jennifer were meant to be together - I have no doubt about that.  They are so supportive of each other in the ways that are most important.  He calms her down when she is anxious and she encourages him when he needs it.  They were best friends first and they both place God as number one in their lives and in their life together and I believe this will help them as they navigate their life through the ups and downs that will surely come their way.   I know that Jennifer is counting on mostly ups!

I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to be her mother, to be with her, to learn from her and see the beautiful young woman she has become and I am thankful for the place that Richie has in her life.

To my other daughter Elizabeth - thanks for not getting married for a while because I'm not sure that I can go through this again in the next year or so!

I love you all!

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