Watching My Granddaughter Walk Down the Aisle

I stand and turn as the bridal march begins. I’ve previewed the dress, the veil, even the Minnie Mouse house slippers she has insisted on wearing under her gown, but nothing has prepared me for the rush of emotion I’m feeling as the grandmother of the bride. It almost takes my breath. The beaming smile. Her tawny skin against the soft white of tulle over satin. Her arm intertwined with her father’s.

I listen carefully as my son gives her hand to the young man who will soon be her husband and answers the officiate with a proud, “Her mother and I do.” As the father of the bride turns to take his seat next to his wife, he smiles at me, and I think I see a tear brimming, just about to spill over.

I was at the rehearsal so I’ve seen the ceremony, but these things never go as planned—that’s what makes them so special. He presents the wrong hand for the ring, and she gets the giggles. The “I do’s” now complete, the happy couple turns to face the large gathering of family and friends. As she makes the move, her skirt lifts slightly and Minnie takes a quick peek. Then I get the giggles!

What seems like an endless variety of groupings, and finally, the pictures are behind us. With gratitude, I take my seat at the reception table, sip my tea, and settle in to enjoy the festivities. Full of youthful energy, my sweet granddaughter dances with her father, then her husband, then her brothers (both at once). Clearly, she’s enjoying herself and so am I.

I watch as she embraces her mother and sigh with joy as they share a long hug. I wonder if the mother of the bride is remembering what I’m remembering. Probably. A tiny baby, slightly less than four pounds, barely moving in the incubator, waiting for a surgeon to repair the hole in her heart. The doctor is encouraging, but I notice the firmly set jaw as he rehearses the dangers of any procedure on such a little person. I wonder how many other tiny bodies he’d been entrusted with. Have any of them been lost?

I close my eyes and remember the awful waiting, the endless pacing. We did everything we could to be positive, trying our best to allay the fears of the new mommy and daddy. Barely more than kids themselves, they were, without warning, now facing the greatest trial of their young lives. My husband strokes my hand, and I notice his lips moving in silent prayer. The memory of him strikes a chord deep inside me, and I open my eyes. How I wish he had lived to see this day, this glorious day! Like me, he would see more than a beautiful bride, he would see the grace of God.

The couple is now moving to center stage, ready to cut the cake. The usual playful maneuvers with the icing! Then a pause. She’s catches my eye. “Make sure Granny gets an enormous piece,” she says with a wink.

“Can’t wait!” I answer back.

As they prepare to leave, I get a hug from both the bride and the groom! Hers is tender and familiar; his tentative yet sincere. He gives me an awkward smile before turning to follow his bride. He’s heard all about the miracle of course; several times by now. But I’m guessing he has only a small inkling of the gift he’s been given. God is so good!

Just before they leave the hall, she turns and blows me a kiss. I blow one back. Our special goodbye since…well…forever. Then they’re gone. By the time I make my way outside, her new husband is doing his best to get her and her skirt into the back of the limo. Just for a second, I get a glimpse of Minnie taking one last look around. I whisper a prayer—two actually. One for me, and another for her Papa. “Keep Your hand on her, Lord. She’s going to need You more than ever in the months ahead.”

You may soon be watching your own daughter, granddaughter, or niece walk down the aisle. Some would call it a simple traditional wedding ceremony, an exchange of Christian wedding vows, but it’s more. It’s an opportunity to look back, to remember the goodness and grace of God in your loved one’s life. This powerful Christian wedding ceremony is also a chance to look forward, assured that the God who brought her this far will see her through all the joys and calamities of life!

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