Transitions

My daughter – I can no longer call her “the fledgling” as she has flown the nest and has wonderful, elegant, strong wings of her own – arrived with her boyfriend yesterday to share Christmas lunch with us. She was bursting with good news.

She came into the house beaming. We hugged. She said, “Guess what?”

I said, “What?” and gently nudged her out of the doorway so The Boy, as she refers to her very, very tall and large boyfriend, could get in out of the cold, too.

Still beaming – this smile lit the room, gang – she held out her left hand. And there, on the third finger, was a delicate gold ring with three small, sparkling diamonds. The boy had popped the question just that morning. To his huge delight and relief, she said “yes.”

My little baby girl, my wee elf, my grumpy fledgling, oh, my beautiful daughter, will marry soon.

Over our holiday lunch of soup and salad (they were off to The Boy’s family for the later afternoon and evening, and more feasting), she told Mr. Wren, me and my mother that she and The Boy won’t tie the knot until late next year or early 2009, because she’s working hard on getting her bachelor’s degree right now and really needs to keep her concentration on it, not wedding dresses and bouquet colors. But after she graduates in November 2008 there will be a wedding. And then she plans to start working on her Master’s degree.

I liked The Boy from the moment she told me about how he’d brought her a rose on their first date. And another on their second. More roses, both physical and figurative, appeared frequently after that. He’s an incurable romantic and a gentle soul, one of those sweet, rare men. Now I love him for loving my daughter so deeply and helplessly. And to my own delight, I will soon have a son. My little family is growing.

I’ve never been a terribly romantic person. I’m more the pragmatic type. Romance appeals, of course, but then real life intrudes. This is not to say that this particular romance between my daughter and her lover doesn’t move me. It does – a lot more than I thought it would. That she’d marry someday was something I never doubted. She’s a free spirit, an independent thinker and a beautiful, smart young woman. Who could resist her? But I never thought I’d spend the hours following the announcement of her engagement alternately weeping and grinning like a fool.

I am so pleased. I am so happy for her. And I’m sad, too. Another transition is occurring in our lives. This time, for me the transition is bittersweet. It’s another small slide down the slope toward old age. But to my daughter, it’s a bright light shining, beckoning her into the most varied and glorious years of her adulthood.

I’m not making much sense and now I’m all teary again. Can you blame me? My daughter’s getting married! What a warm and lovely present for the dawning new year.

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