Saturday, 9 July 2011

Rites of Passage

Life is full of ‘rites of passage’. From the formal ones of baptism, weddings and funerals to the others that we all hold dear in our lives: first smile, first day at school, first lost tooth, 13th birthday, 18th/21st birthday and many more. This week saw our family involved in a new, imported one from the USA, the end of school ‘Prom’. Molly finished her GCSE’s last week and Monday saw the long anticipated Prom Night. As ever it was such a privilege to be part of another of Molly’s ‘rites of passage’ the planning for her big night.

She chose a dress on Ebay, just from a photograph, that she really liked and said that she would feel like Eva Longoria wearing; when it arrived she wasn’t wrong she looked stunning. We practised hair and make-up for weeks before hand, I am now an expert in the many ways you can make long straight hair have a curl in it, and how not to gas yourself when using copious amounts of hairspray. We shopped for shoes with six inch heels and we spent hours practising walking in them!

I was really surprised at how emotional I was at all of this; my little girl suddenly became a woman in front of my eyes. I took loads of photos, cried a tears of joy, worried for her as we dropped her off to meet her friends and get in their limo, cried a bit more as I saw the rather handsome young man who had asked her to be his date give her a beautiful corsage of flowers for her wrist; and then worried all night that she would have a good time, be safe and not fall off her shoes!

But the most amazing moment for me, when I realised that this was a rite of passage for me as well as her, was when I got to do something that I remember my mum doing for me on my wedding day. As Molly was about to leave to go to the prom, I noticed something was missing from her outfit. I rushed upstairs and got a single drop silver necklace out of my jewellery box that Steve had given me when we first met, it would compliment her dress perfectly. With trepidation I reached to put it round her neck, looking into her excited eyes, no words exchanged but joy, pride and love making my fingers shake as I fumbled to fasten the catch. In that moment I was transported back to my wedding day, and I said to her “Nanny did this for me on my wedding day” to her, she looked at me and said “I love you so much Mum”.

Such a beautiful precious moment between mother and daughter; a moment that could go unnoticed by anyone else except those involved. On my wedding day, as I came down stairs for the first time dressed in my wedding dress my mum reached around my neck and fastened a beautiful gold chain with a single pearl hanging from it. A necklace I had seen her wear many times, that had been a gift from my dad. In that tender moment, that didn’t need any words I knew what she was thinking, how proud she was of me, how much she loved me and what this moment meant to my Mum.

As Molly and I stood there I suddenly realised that I was giving my daughter away, not yet to a husband but to the world. Another bit of my child, that I wanted to cling onto so tightly, had just slipped away unnoticed by anyone else other than Molly and me. A truly precious moment shared with my beautiful daughter and one that I am so glad I did not miss.

Rites of passage aren’t only in the big things, but in the everyday, as you watch your child grow and fly away. Keep an eye out, don’t miss any because they are so precious and you cannot get any of them back once they are gone. Don’t let your child grow up too soon, as the world seems to encourage them too, rites of passage are called that for a reason there is a time and place for each of them – they are life stages, our journey from birth to death and deserve to be celebrated and enjoyed. And as I found out this week, their rites of passage are ours too.

This is my song for my beautiful girls Molly and Alice, I love you so much my darlings x x x x x x x

Father God, I want to thank You for my beautiful daughter. Thank You that You have trusted me to be her mum and raise her for You. Thank You for the amazing times we have had together and I look forward to many more, please keep my eyes open to every precious moment because I don’t want to miss a thing. I am very proud of her and I know that You are too. Amen x x x x x x