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Wedding Wishes

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There’s a song in the musical Wicked in which Glinda and Ephelba sing about how meeting one another has changed their lives (“For Good”). In it Glinda sings:

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
(Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz)

People come and people go – and if we are lucky, they come back.  If we are very lucky.

When LeaTreacia came into my life, she was the ripe old age of nine – bubbly, full of laughter, exuding joy, and oh so wise for her years. My mother was teaching at Treace’s school and had been assigned to be her mentor. Before too long, I was brought into the mix, and it was love at first meeting. I adored her. We would take her on outings, and eventually she would come to our house for weekends. She filled our house with her exuberance. She was the little sister I had always wanted. We were two peas in a pod.

As the years passed, our bond grew tighter. When it was time for Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, I brought her – after all, she was the closest thing I had to one. She was there when the Monkey Daddy proposed (well, the night he surprised me with my ring…another story for another time). And when it came time for my wedding, I knew she had to be a part of it. She was my junior bridesmaid.

LeaTreacia and I at my wedding

LeaTreacia and me at my wedding

Smooches

Smooches – also known as how to embarrass a teenager in a picture.

I loved her.  More than a little sister.  I loved her like a mother loves a child.  She was a part of me.  And I was a part of her.   We knew we were in this for life.

I lost track of her when she left for college.  She and I haven’t spoken about why it happened, but it did.  I was a new mother.  She was miles and miles away.   And life happened.  But there was always a hole in my heart.  A LeaTreacia size one.  I never stopped wondering about her.  I would try, desperately, to find her.  I had to know she was ok.   I knew in my heart that one day I would find her.   And through the miracle that is Facebook, one day it happened.  There she was.  My girl.  All grown up, but there was my girl.

Today, she got married.  I was to be there.  I was going to drive the eight hours from Atlanta to Indianapolis and I was going to be there.  She needed me there – and I needed to be there.  The years of separation didn’t matter.  All that mattered was that my girl was getting married, and damn it I was going to be there.

And as much as it killed me, last week I had to tell her that I was not going to be able to come.  I cried as I told her.  I cried because sometimes life is so damn unfair.  I cried because I felt that once again someone she loves let her down.   I cried because I wanted to be there to see for myself that she was ok.  I cried because I love her and wanted to be there to share in her joy.  I cried because, well…because I cried.

And I cried again today, at the time the wedding was to start, because I wasn’t there crying tears of happiness.

So, my dear LeaTreacia, (with tears streaming down my cheeks) I want to say here’s to your wedding day.  I wish you all the happiness you have always deserved, and yet sometimes found out of your grasp.  I wish you someone who appreciates and understands all the things that make you you.   I wish you years of joy and only moments of sorrow.

But mostly, I want you to know this:

I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living, my Treace you’ll be.

Happy wedding day, my sweet girl.  Best wishes on this new journey.  It can be smooth.  It can be bumpy.  But like a roller coaster, it’s a hell of a ride.  Hang on tight and enjoy the trip.

The Tiny Giant


Daily Prompt: Mentor Me

Daily Prompt: Mentor Me

Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

Although 4’11”, she is a giant.

Her fingers, gnarled with arthritis command our attention – directing us to sound as one.

Her red pixie-cut bobs in time to the music, a slight tremor beyond her control.

Her sharp, elfin ears can pick out the one voice out of sixty that has wandered astray.

Anything short of perfection is unacceptable – our pure devotion to her drives us to achieve it.  We would rather die than disappoint her.

“Reach for the blue flower,” she commands.  We can almost touch the mythical bloom.

She never married, having lost her fiance at Pearl Harbor.  She is instead married to her choir – the generations of students her children.

Her belief in my ability never wavered.

I was to be the one who “made it.”

I was to be the one who one day stood on a stage, holding an award, thanking her.

Yet, I never even tried.

So, the awards never came.

But every year, when I sing the Hallelujah Chorus with my church choir – FROM MEMORY – I always close my eyes, bow my head, and whisper…

“Thank you, Miss Carpenter.”

And I know she has heard every note.