Holding Hands

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This is it,” I whispered to myself. “This is really it.”  Cello music and piano filled the air with the sounds of Savvy’s wedding march “A thousand Years”.  The bridesmaids began their march…I watched as each one stepped up to the top of the arch and disappeared.  My stepdaughters and grandson started down the aisle, the maid of honor and junior bridesmaids and then the flower girl.  I held her hand as I watched them go. I held her hand and this pose was familiar and sweet. It’s what we had done thousands of times all the way back to when we were crossing a busy street or walking along and going anywhere. It’s what we did the night before as she couldn’t sleep from excitement and exhaustion. She held my hand because it made her feel safe. I held her hand because it made me feel whole.

We stood quietly, taking it all in. Holding hands.

All day I thought about our journey together.  Our journey as Mother and daughter. I stepped into empty rooms and cried, fixed my face, and stepped back out to smile at my daughter.   I remember the day Savvy was born.  My sister, Freda, looked at me and said, “Sis this is the most amazing thing you have ever done”.  I was tired and worn and I just looked back at my sister blankly lol.  But she was right and she still is.  Savvy and Nick are my most amazing accomplishments.  I can tell you that when Savanna was born the feeling in the deepest corner of my heart was wonder and overwhelming delight…along with sheer terror.

Like a Mother bear I stood guard over this little girl all during her childhood years.  I watched her crawl, tip toe around my world, learn to run and ride bikes. I watched her fall down (too many times to count lol) and get back up.  I watched her move quickly from babbling to talking. I watched her become a sister and later navigate being a step sister.   I soothed her heartache and laughed at her funny stories and mannerisms.  Sometimes I tried to imagine her grown and gone, married, and with children of her own.  Mostly though, it was almost impossible for me to imagine that today would come into our lives.

As I walked down the aisle with Savanna today, I can tell you that the feeling in my heart was bittersweet.  Don’t be shocked.  I am overjoyed at her choice of Ian as her husband.  Overjoyed.  I know that he loves her and will care for her as no other. I’m ecstatic that the young man standing at the end of the aisle will be her husband.  Still….today my relationship with Savvy will change.  As it should.  But it’s an unknown for both of us.  A new beginning for her and Ian…and a new role for me.

Savanna has lived in my home for many years, we’ve spent countless hours making plans for her future, decisions about day to day stuff. Cooking healthy meals and talking thru the best healthy choices for her.   Hours spent gossiping, fighting, arguing political views, watching netflix, or just hanging out.  Hours spent watching my daughter get dressed for special occasions, watching her set and meet goals, watching her sheer stubborness in attaining her life’s passions.  Many many hours trying to give her the best advice that I could. Many times my advice was unasked for lol, and wrong, but it was always from the heart.  And for many years Evan and I have been the go to folks for a lot of decisions big and small.  What was born in that ceremony was a new most-important partner, a new go-to person, and a new marriage in a brand-new home.  And today, on Savvy’s wedding day, something else was born, a role I have never known before:  mother of a married Savvy and mother-in-law to Ian.   I know that I will make mistakes.  We all do.  I just hope I don’t make too many.  But more than that…it’s my hope that these two wonderful young people will create a partnership, a family,  that will give them both peace and happiness.  Because, no matter what, in the end….it’s our family that defines our life.  Just as Savanna has defined mine.  In so, so many ways.   So today as I took my hand away from hers, and watched her take Ian’s hand…I wanted to hold on just a few more minutes.  But I know that the time for holding on is done.  “Gotta let a little girl grow up. “ And on this happiest and most bittersweet of days…. I’m looking forward to watching her hold Ian’s hand for many years to come.