Everything to its own exquisite and joyous season

Everything to its own exquisite and joyous season

A radiant picture slipped into my texts yesterday, a smiling face and twinkling ring, no words coming along with it.

Our daughter is engaged. It was an anticipated moment, and although her fiancé has been a much-loved part of our family for six years now, I welcome the moment it becomes official.

Much like the summer before we dropped her at college — our eldest and first one to let go — I felt a strange brew of emotions. It was a swishing in my gut that brought an avalanche of unexpected tears. I had to pause my day and stare out the window, taking in the moment.

I realized that what I was experiencing was a mixture of joy and grief, a sweetness and sorrow. I’ve settled into life without my mom being in it, and I was grieving the joy I know she would have felt upon seeing Belle and Tyler engaged. I let the tears come intermittently throughout the day and found out yet again what an unpredictable beast grief can be.

My daughter told me she’s felt Mom everywhere this summer: in the swirly pink peony pattern of a tufted chair, a club where they go to dance, the potted glory of a pink rose. I like to believe that both my mom and my dad look down every once in awhile and see what we’re up to and take a moment to let us know they’re watching with a glorious glance, a moment in time where the veil is thin.

Timing is everything.

Back in my day you got married young. There was no waiting around to make a house and home, fill up a cupboard with pots and pans and get down to business. If you knew you wanted to get married, you just did it. It was expected.

I’d like to think with the passing of time that waiting to get married, pursuing your dreams, traveling or creating a voraciously successful business is more smiled upon for a woman. I can’t count the times I was asked when they’d be getting married. When? When? When? And why not now?

I would venture to say it was because there were other things they wanted to do first. The premise that marriage is the only valid way to exist inside of a relationship is a false notion.

Instead of asking how her business was growing or how her newest design was selling, I would consistently be asked why they’re not yet married. It was a pushy narrative that never failed to ruffle my feathers. I always pushed back and said squarely, “They’re not ready. There’s so much more they want to do before they settle down.”

We were happy that they were happy with their relationship, and marriage — until they were ready — was not something that needed to be pushed. They were in a committed relationship, and a marriage certificate didn’t need to define them until they were ready to sign it. Is marriage the end all and be all of who we are? Without it can there be love?

I say with all due respect, even after you’re married, should your spouse and your marriage define you? Or are we still ourselves with our own talents and acumen? I like to believe that my husband and I each bring a singular set of talents to our marriage, each capable of existing and succeeding outside of who we are together.

But today in nearly her 28th luminous year of being Belle, she wears a ring and a smile that speaks volumes to me. The love they have together grew immeasurably through their six years of dating, and nothing — and no one — needed to prod them into knowing the time and place.

I think Mom knew it was their time as her aura circled in and around this verdant summer season, heavy pink pastel roses showing up in the oddest of places, and I, in my jubilance and sorrow, feeling the thread of mothers to daughters tug roughly. I’ll face this joyous season and know all falls into place in its exquisite timing.  

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