This past weekend we traveled across the country to attend the wedding of one of J's cousins. About a year and a half ago, when the couple first got engaged, they asked A to be the flower girl in the wedding. At the time, I had to tell them maybe. She still had her tracheostomy, of course, and we didn't know when it would be coming out. Our pulmonologist had always warned against traveling by plane during the fall or winter, as it's cold and flu season and A would be more susceptible to getting sick. As the wedding was planned for October 10 (10-10-10) I wasn't sure how comfortable I would feel traveling at that time year, assuming she still had the trach. Also, at that time A wasn't walking unassisted yet (although the bride was already making plans for A to use her walker, which they would decorate with flowers).
Of course, this past summer A got her trach out, which changed everything. Soon after the decannulation, I called the bride to happily accept her invitation for A to be flower girl. We booked our tickets back east, bought A a beautiful dress, bought D a handsome suit, and flew out.
I was initally worried about how A would do in her role as flower girl. She had never been to a wedding before, and didn't really know what a flower girl is. Last week I spent a lot of time showing her videos of flower girls on YouTube. And I picked roses from my backyard and used their petals for her to practice walking and taking the petals out of the basket. She eventually seemed to get it, but I still had my doubts. A is very shy in new situations, and I was afraid that even if she knew WHAT to do she'd be too scared. I called the bride to discuss the situation, and we both agreed that Plan A would be for A to walk down the aisle by herself; Plan B would be for me to walk her down holding her hand; and Plan C would be for me to carry her down the aisle. I was fervently hoping for Plan A or B.
As it turns out, A blew me away, as always. She ended up walking down the aisle with her cousin, who was the ringbearer. They held hands, which I think made it a million times easier. I was at the back of the ceremony with her, and when it was their time to go I sent her down the aisle, watching her from behind. She never looked back. I then hurried around the building to slip into the audience, and was back in time to see the bride walk down the aisle. J said that A did amazing, and was able to capture a few pictures of her beaming her way down the aisle.
Later, during the reception, they wanted to introduce the bridal party and have them walk in one-by-one into the room. We waited outside the door, and soon the DJ announced A and her cousin as flower girl and ring bearer. Just like in the ceremony, I gently nudged her away, and the two of them took off into the reception room, onto the dance floor, to thunderous applause. When the rest of the wedding party had entered, everyone (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc) stood on one side of the dance floor and watched the bride and groom do their first dance. A and her cousin just stood still as statues, watching, still holding hands. And when the DJ announced that it was time for the bridal party to dance, A and her cousin danced a slow dance together (her cousin is 4 years old as well).
My heart was almost bursting with pride during all of this. I couldn't believe that not only was my baby HERE (since the only way she'd have come to the wedding was if her trach was out) but that she WALKED down the aisle---something I never thought possible when she was asked to be flower girl a year and a half ago. And to top it all off, she did fantastic---absolutely perfect. She did me proud; she did herself prouder.
I am so glad we went to the wedding. It was great to get away and see family, most of which we rarely get to see. But more than that, it was so fulfilling to me to see my miracle baby in such a role--as a beautifully-dressed flower girl, playing her part to the hilt.
Ironmother Week: The Mind
23 minutes ago