Thursday, July 13, 2006

July 13, 2006: Flower Girls Now and Then

Saturday was my niece April's wedding. There is something heartbreakingly beautiful about my nieces as brides, and my daughter as a flower girl. My three nieces were my flower girls 17 years ago, and Laurel has been a flower girl at two of her cousins' weddings so far. I can see the little flower girl in the bride, and, even more heartbreakingly beautiful, the bride in my own little flower girl daughter.

These girls have been part of my life since I was 14. Esther—the spikey one on the right—was, indisputably, my favorite for many years. (I was too young to know that we aren’t supposed to pick favorites.) She always had such a large dose of personality. She danced at my concert band concerts. She ate candy bars until she threw up. She beheaded my Barbie dolls and colored faces on my paper dolls. I loved her anyway. Ellen (on the left, my brother Peter’s girl) was born a year-and-a-half later and was a little adult from the beginning. She always lurked at the adult table. She would rather be ignored at the adult table than have to play with the other kids. But I loved her anyway, because she was sweet and shy and thought I was the best thing in the world. She has turned into a graceful woman. Laurel was her flower girl two years ago. April (Esther’s sister) was the baby of the trio of girls. She was a scrawny baby who cried for the first 6 months and then, overnight, turned into this unbelievably gorgeous, smiling baby. She’s never stopped smiling since then.

The passage of time seems most clear when I see these three girls. Here they are, in their own lives, in what seems to be a speed-of-light, fast-forward sort of phenomenon. They were little kids for soooo long, and now they are just these grown-ups. Makes me ponder, of course, those words of caution we parents have heard a hundred times from older folks: “Enjoy them now! They grow up so fast!” Inside I always roll my eyes and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” But yeah. Yeah, they do grow up.

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