|Wearing a black dress and mom's veil.
My little girl was in love.
There was this boy she got to hang out with just about every day, and she would come home to tell me all about the special things they did together. Usually, it involved watching The Wiggles, sharing snacks, and playing house at Ms. Sue's.
She was 3. I think he was 4. His name was Little Zac -- not to be confused with Big Zac.
One day, she told me all about the wedding she would have complete with her sisters and her best friend Carolyn as bridesmaids. When I asked her what color it would be, she rolled her eyes at me in the universal language of "Duh" and said, "Mom. Pink!"
Now my little girl is 22 and there really is a wedding on the horizon, but it definitely will not be pink.
My grown-up girl is in love with a grown-up boy named Gavin, who proposed to her Saturday night at the annual Christmas lights display in New Orleans' City Park. It's the same place where her dad proposed to me 30 years ago this week, the day before our engagement party, which we scheduled to take place one year before our scheduled wedding date. It was a countdown. And rather than get down on one knee, he put me up on a carousel horse and stood beside it.
Gavin did not duplicate his future father-in-law's clever feat, however, perhaps because he has seen my rather large collection of carousel horses to commemorate the event. For a moment, he considered doing it at the huge walk-in whale at the park's Storyland exhibit. But perhaps the image of a future collection of whales all over his house dissuaded him.
Instead, he chose a lovely spot with a large collection of lit-up dandelions, which he may or may not have known is a special symbol for my girl and me. I bought both of us dandelion necklaces when she went off to college four years ago. Mine was the dandelion puff (Google says it's called a seedball); hers is the seeds flying away. It's a metaphor.
Anyways, before dropping to one knee and popping the question -- to which my beautiful girl replied, "What the fuck?" he knocked on our door to carry out the traditional act of asking her dad for her hand in marriage.
Of course, Dad wasn't home. The baseball coach was off doing baseball coach-y things at a local festival with a bunch of his team parents. There was loud music involved and much talking, so he did not hear his phone when I called him to try and make sure he did not miss out on such a momentous occasion. Nor did he hear the second time. Nor the third, or fourth, or fifth, or sixth, or seventh. There may have been more.
In desperation, I texted a few people I thought might be with him. One was not. Another did not answer. A third did answer with the reply, "He just left."
Also typical of my husband, he somehow switched off his Life 360, so I had no idea where he was or how far out he might be from home. Meanwhile, the groom-to-be was getting antsy.
I tried to make conversation to kill some time.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
Oh, it was a joke! I mean, he knows how messy she is and how cranky she can be and how stressed she gets over work and money, and how much she spends on beauty products. They've been together for five years, since the summer she finished high school and swore she did not want a boyfriend right before she went away to college but, you know, stuff happens. And they made it through four years of her being a four-hour drive away and living in the dorms and the lockdown that came with Covid.
But he wasn't there for her first days with us as we prayed that the woman who let us have her would let us keep her. She did, but I guess we always knew that it wouldn't be forever -- not really. But back then we didn't want to think about the fact that one day some young man would come and sweep her off her feet and take her away to live with him instead of us. And we surely didn't think that he would move her into his house but that she would be leaving most of her stuff in her old bedroom for me to figure out what to do with it all.
And he wasn't there that day my little precocious 3-year-old told me all about the pink wedding she wanted to have.
I can only wonder if he ever imagined the dark-haired beauty someday walking towards him in a white dress while her mom sobbed on the front row.
And when he came to my door Saturday night, I don't think he imagined that his future mother-in-law would nearly blow the big surprise.
After her father and I gave our blessings, Gavin went off to pick up Lora and they headed off to City Park. I knew when they arrived because, unlike her dad, Lora does not disable her Life 360. So, with a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie on in the background, I waited for my daughter to make The Call to tell me "Ohmygodmomimengaged!!!"
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I stalked her on Life 360 as she -- they -- made their way around City Park, through Storyland, and the amusement park and, finally, the gardens.
And I waited.
Finally, I got a text with a lovely photo of them kissing near the dandelion lights. OK. It wasn't a phone call, but it was still the moment I was waiting for!
Or so I thought.
Oh Crap... What? Doesn't that look like THE MOMENT! But it wasn't. So now I have to cover!
|The happy ENGAGED couple!