Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A Facetime Wedding

My daughter got married in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Registration for the couple, but now legally wed. Her husband kept saying it was really just a lot of paperwork - the bureaucracy getting its stamp on everything but still...

She found a dress to wear, he wore a jacket and button down shirt. There were three witnesses and his folks were there. After stamps and photocopies and making sure all the information was correct, they were brought to a little room with a lattice backdrop with some flowers while a woman read to them the solemnization of marriage - in Buhasa, one of the languages of the country. They had to stand, raise their right hands and swear. They were given a lovely red folder with their registration of marriage certificate. Lots of celebrating, a couple kisses and pictures.

I watched all of this on Facetime and Zoom. We had four days notice of this event. The paperwork went through relatively fast and my American daughter and her Malaysian husband took the first available appointment to get their marriage registration. 

I cried when she told me. 

I've always said to my kids that however you get married (if that is your choice) - courthouse, church, beach - I want to be there. And... I found out that it doesn't really matter what I want when it comes to how my children have to make choices in their lives. Of course they love and respect me - but they have many different currents to navigate for their own happiness. Ultimately, my faraway child knows that I want her to be happy - and this ceremony in the ministry office was what she needed for peace of mind and happiness.  Even so, I felt - sad - to be watching such an important moment in my daughter's life from the camera on a cellphone.

And... Thank god for technology. 

I wrote before about change and adapting to new circumstances - well, here I am again. I am so grateful that I could witness and chat with her during her registration process while stricken with the reality of not being able to be present to one of her most important life moments. Again, letting go of the expectations that I would always be able to make my way to her in time for these kinds of events, is something I struggle with. Is it my own family history? My history with my daughter? Or just a plain old sadness to not be there - and the ability to move on?

So I sit back and think about these circumstances and I wonder how different this really is than what so many other people feel as their adult children move out into the world as adults? 

This isn't the same way I felt when they left college and home in their young twenties - this is the feeling of children who are solid adults living their lives according to their own wants, dreams and needs. I am heading faster than I like towards 60. My husband and I talk about retirement while also taking care of elder parents. And no matter how much I enjoy my post child-rearing years, motherhood is still a huge part of my life. Its just not all of my life - not the only way I define myself as a woman. 

So how do I stop feeling left behind? How do I stop crashing up against my lack of control over circumstances that I simply have no say in? How do I adapt, shift and side step the landmines of my own anxiety? How do I reassure myself that I am not losing my baby girl and simply open my heart to love more?

Maybe I need to stop trying to control any circumstance. Maybe I need to hug my anxious self and stop sidestepping long enough to just take a deep breath. Maybe I need to allow the love within my heart to fill me up and recognize the beautiful moments that keep filling my life. 

It always seems easier to focus on the loss or scarcity; the fears. Honestly, I know that is a mindset  - a frame, if you will - that is socially and culturally driven here in the US. Re-framing with gratitude, love, and a sense of new adventures feels so much better. It makes me feel - younger. And free to also ask what new adventures I want to discover for myself.

Having my daughter living in south Asia is the definition of a new adventure. One of many.

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