All grown up

My daughter, my lovely princess, is getting married on Saturday.

I am so happy.

They say that time flies by, that it seems like yesterday she was a tiny baby, but for me, that hasn’t been true. It doesfeel like she is 25, and that two and a half decades have passed, and every single day of those years, I have had the gift of utter joy at being her mother.

In what is the biggest and most impactful decision a person can make, Flannery and Mike have chosen so well. They are both kind, hardworking, funny and smart. They have loved each other since their freshman year of college, and knew they’d get married shortly thereafter. Their time together has not been complicated or with its ups and downs or like a roller coaster—it’s been smooth sailing. They’ve grown up together in that last phase of childhood—college—and on Saturday, I’ll get to say, “my son-in-law” and “my daughter’s husband.”

We hope the weather will be gorgeous and her hair will stay up and no one twists an ankle. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Her dress could be splattered with mud, and the flowers could all wilt, and it would still be wonderful. During this long, dark fall and winter, a time marked by isolation and loss and illness, ugly actions and attacks and hate crimes, this little wedding has been a ray of light. Two young adults—a nurse and a firefighter—two kids who met their first day of college, two kids who have never been in love with anyone but each other, have chosen commitment and service, family and hope.

As a parent, my goal was to raise my kids to be happy and responsible. I hoped they’d choose the kind of partner McIrish and I have been to each other these 30 years. I hoped they’d choose someone who was kind and hardworking, who’d be by their side during the hardest, saddest times of life and during the moments of utter joy…but also during those long, sweet days and weeks and years of simple, unremarkable contentment.

My daughter has done this. So has her fiancé.

The flowers will probably be gorgeous, and the food will probably be great. Keep your fingers crossed for sunshine.

But it doesn’t matter. Flannery and Mike are getting married, and that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

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