“Soon your sweet little girl will make the second most important decision of her life. Lots of emotions. I am praying for you and encouraging you to sharpen your scissors and cut that apron string. Here for you. Love, Linda”

Those handwritten words from my dear friend Linda Zieger were left in a card inside our front door just days before the wedding. The cover of the card was so fitting as it showed a silhouette of a young mother holding her infant child. Words can’t describe all the emotions a mother goes through during the planning stages of the wedding up to the actual wedding day.

Finally the week of the wedding arrived and it was evident from Linda’s note that I was not alone. For those of you who have been a mother of the bride, you know where I’m going. Early in the week, Sarah warned me, “Mom I need you to be strong for me. We’re all depending on you. If you lose it on my wedding day we’ll all fall apart. If you’re strong, we’ll all be strong.” I was reminded once again that I was the emotional hub of our family of four. They were counting on me.

Despite the countless loose ends that always evolve even up until your daughter walks down the aisle with her daddy at hand, I was able to focus with all of my heart, soul, and mind on our beautiful bride and her handsome groom on their special day. I stayed the course by not losing it, because Sarah was counting on me. As they danced, laughed, and celebrated, joy and happiness emanated from this couple. They were so beautiful.

At the end of the perfect evening, Sarah and Scott beamed and ran off into the night, arm in arm with her satin gown flowing and the tails of his tux flying with every step. Turning back they waved a cute little “bye-bye” and they were gone. In one blink, I went from strong and secure to vulnerable prey. A sword had stabbed my heart. It felt like a death cry. It was a final goodbye to Sarah and childhood.

Breaking and sobbing in Gary’s arms, I felt the safety to release the outcry of my heart. We stood weeping together as one. That little life that God had given to us was released from us as we stood clinging to each other. I always knew Sarah would get married, but today came too soon. After I gathered my emotions, my eyes fell upon another set of parents just feet from us. Jim and Helaine stood buried in each others arms weeping with the same joy, yet finality that we shared … four parents thrilled with the marriage of our families, but feeling the cut of the apron strings I had been so warned about.

As we wallowed in tears and in our sense of loss, we saw out of the corner of our eyes, the very reason why we were crying. Only 10 minutes had passed when Sarah and Scott sheepishly appeared back in the room that just an hour ago was filled with laughter and joy as friends and loved ones celebrated their new life together. Wiping floods of tears from our worn faces, we looked up and Scott mumbled, “Can you tell us where our car is parked? We can’t find it.”

We all began to cry out with laughter! Why? Because that was God’s way of telling us that they will be back in our lives again and again. As young children we told our kids that we will always come home after an evening out. That night God whispered so gently, “Your kids will always come home, too.” Scott and Sarah will need Jim, Helaine, Gary, and me at every stage of growth, and we’ll be there for them-to love and encourage for a lifetime!

Copyright © 2001 by Barbara Rosberg. All rights reserved. Used with permission.