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Queen for a Day at My Daughter’s Wedding

Dotty Brown and her husband walk their daughter down the aisle.

Transitions… I feel as if I’m moving through a new one I hadn’t considered before.

Recently, my “baby” — the youngest of my three daughters — got married, following in her sisters’ footsteps. It was a moment we had long anticipated, encouraged, hoped for, and — finally — celebrated.

Yay! And yet….

While I might have been kidding myself to think that I was her confidante and adviser-in-all-things-about-life, I now suddenly realize that she has moved on to someone who can do it better and longer. If, God willing, the course of life proceeds as it should, he will be there for her when I am not.

It is a joyful, yet sobering passage. It’s one thing to “retire” from a longtime career and plunge into the “next great thing,” with expectations of many years of fulfillment ahead. It’s another to warily eye the future and know that those years are becoming fewer.

As my mother used to say, “You laugh with one eye and cry with the other.”

There’s a tradition, I’m told, of crowning the mother when her last child is married. Does it celebrate the ascendance, finally, to a place of governance and wisdom? Or does it mark some brilliance in the accomplishment of marrying off all the daughters? Or is it more like that old TV show, “Queen for a Day,” where typically the woman who was crowned and showered with prizes was living a hard-luck life. (Now, realize, that I love my daughters, but raising them has not come totally free of angst and worry.) Here’s another old saying: “You’re only as happy as your saddest child.” I’ve had a few sad days.

At the moment, though, with the newlyweds on their honeymoon, and the other daughters deep into their marriages, careers and children of their own, I am free to walk my kingdom — or queendom — in whatever direction I wish to go, for as long as I am able. The umbilical cord is cut.

Well, knowing me, I should qualify that.

Dotty Brown writes about the transition from full-time career to “the next great thing” on her blog www.unretiring.blogspot.com, where this post originally appeared.

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