It’s wedding week.  The details are finalized; the clothes are ironed; the vows are ready. We have moved beyond the planning phase to working the plan. From this point, our job is just to enjoy the experience and savor the moment.  In a week, my daughter will be married.

I am excited, and I am proud.  I am confident in the love she shares with her fiancé, and I know they are ready and willing to put in the effort and steadfast attention required to make a marriage work.  I am overjoyed.

And I am devastated.

She was a child just yesterday, her never-ending smile lighting up every room she was in.  It was just yesterday she was performing concerts for us on her bed, staging elaborate shows on our make-shift stage, and drawing with sidewalk chalk in the driveway.  (Oh wait, she and her sister still do that!).

And she will be that child to me, in many ways, forever.

I know some things now that I did not know even a year ago.  Our children are our children forever.  I know now that all those moments in the teens years when I thought that all we had to do was get to 18…19…21 and our jobs would be done were a fallacy.  Our job is never done.

We are parents forever.

I know now how my parents feel when a day passes and they don’t talk to me.  I know now the fear and anxiousness my parents feel every time I tackle a new challenge.  I know now the pride and joy my parents feel every time I am successful in something, even now. I underestimated  the fact that those emotions never, ever, ever change.

We are parents forever.

I hope that I am a better daughter for knowing this.  Believe me, I have always known how lucky I was to be blessed with parents and step-parents and parents-in-law who support my family in countless ways.  I just have a more real appreciation now of the fact that while my daughter’s life is changing immeasurably, my feelings for her will never change.

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