The 22nd of June finally came,
and hearts were all a-flutter.
The father, silver-haired since his thirties but more handsome than ever, in his wife's eyes,
tied his second son's tie, straightened his collar,
and brushed the imaginary lint off his shoulders,
perhaps for the last time.
Was the father recalling a vague memory
of when he first taught this son
how to tie a Windsor knot after graduating from clip-on ties?
Or maybe, much longer ago, when he taught him how to tie his shoes?
Step by step, this father helped his sons grow from young boys to young men.
The father had grown mellow, even sentimental, these past several
months as, one by one, his three eldest fledglings left the nest.
Standing behind his son, the father's rosy cheeks betray his attempts at being stalwart.
Crying is for mothers or for fathers of the bride, he'd always thought.
So why was it so hard to keep the tears at bay?
The mother, upstairs, remained the stalwart one. As relaxed as
a groom's mom can be, four hours before the ceremony,
she took a seat
near a sunny bedroom window,
while her first daughter-in-law worked magic on her forty-something face.
No crying allowed. Both makeup and mood must remain light.
Her sons make her proud and happy.
and so does her only daughter, who assists the son's bride in the fun of getting ready to
say "I do".
More makeup, but this time, no magic needed.
A beautiful, youthful face needs no wands or fairy dust.
Her mother had always wanted to zip her only daughter's wedding dress. No one else should do that.
To her it was, I suppose, like the groom's father tying the tie. A privilege. An honor. A chance to recount a flash of memories as the zipper goes up, up, up.
Putting someone else together on the outside
while you fall apart on the inside?
That's a mother's gift.
But, even as the tears sting your own eyes, there is joy and comfort in watching your little girl's dream come true before hers.