October has been an incredibly busy month for Stephen and me. We began it with a move . . . have both been acclimating to new jobs . . . and will end it with a long overdue and well deserved vacation after a challenging year. It's been a lot of life happening all at once . . . between all that blessed life, though . . . we are remembering a few very important things that happen every October . . . and always make me cry . . .
But I will tell you that I cried at my daughter's wedding two years ago this month on October fourth.
This wasn't just a wedding, though. The tears had less to do with a union of souls than with eternal gratitude and the wonder of life's circumstances in general. That October, Kelsey Brooke, my beautiful second daughter married her beautiful boy. By anybody's standards, they looked like a living fairy tale, or, as I like to quip, the perfectly preserved vampires of the Twilight variety. But even this wasn't what made me cry when I saw them together at the altar lost in each other's eyes.
I saw the hidden, pure soul of my father shining through the eyes of my beautiful baby girl the first moment I laid eyes on her. I saw the commanding spirit of a tiny two year old girl standing full stature, eyeball to eyeball with an incorrigible, giant Boxer dog, pointing her little finger, and saying Sit down, Molly (Ma-yee)! Sit down! And Molly did. I saw the spirit of that same little girl weakened over a period of years when sickness and the side effects of chemotherapy ravaged her body . . . and when she developed the soul of a teacher, showing us all how to live in courage and love moment by moment. I saw the flowing hair and running legs that represented healing.
First recital in a red-feathered tutu dancing to Sweet Georgia Brown . . . first soccer goal . . . first three point basket . . . first heartbreak when she didn't make the volleyball team.
I saw an indefatigable trampoline bouncer . . . a little girl with her nose in big books . . . a little witch in a Halloween costume with a real black cat perched on her shoulder . . .
I saw a cheerleader . . . a college graduate . . . a missionary walking hand in hand with little braided girls in India and beguiling little wide-eyed boys in Africa.
As they say, my life literally flashed before my eyes. Except that it wasn't my life. It was my Kelsey Brooke's . . . and it was nothing short of a miracle that this event was happening at all. . . So when the flowers had all been twined through the trellises, when the candles had been lit, when the guests had been greeted, when there was nothing left to do but sit and wait for someone else to take over. . .
all of this is what washed over me and caused the silent flood of tears . . .
the beauty of enduring life, of living out the normal, of long ago victories . . . the miracle of how right now came to be, against all odds, is what took my breath away on that October evening 2013.
And the same thing happens every year at the end of October when another birthday marks another year of grace . . . when I realize that I could be remembering a little girl and wondering who she would have been . . . instead of meeting her for breakfast after she runs a half marathon or posing with her for selfies.
I cry a little in gratitude and wonder that I . . . we . . . have been so blessed to have her all these years.
Happy birthday, Kelsey Brooke. What a wonderful time of year it is to celebrate you.