Feelings Without Words
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was a welcome two hours of not much but listening (and baking pumpkin cookies) after two days of watching, with her sister on the first day and her future mother-in-law on the second, our oldest daughter try on wedding dress after wedding dress. She must have slipped into thirty or forty of them. I use the phrase “slipped into” loosely; some of them were their own particular ordeal with all the layers and buttons and sequins and sashes, the gasping and tugging and laughter and sighs.
It was sometime just before noon on Saturday when we slipped and zipped and flung open the curtains surrounding what felt like an observation deck with mirrors. And there it was. The Dress. I’m not sure who knew it first. Perhaps all at once as we gazed upon this Dress on this Young Woman and there was a silence. It was beautiful. Of course. “Is this the dress you want to wear on your wedding day?” I asked. Another silence, and then a nod, and then tears. I won’t say sobbing tears, but tears. Yes.
I’m not sure why buying a daughter’s wedding dress is so rife with intensity, but it is. I’ve thought about it since, and what I’ve come up with is that it’s not about the Dress. It’s something much larger, reaching back in time and forward in time and deep into the heart. We do this, you know. We seek out events and dates and tangible things upon which to hang our emotions. The Days of Our Lives. Those dates upon which, when they come around, we have named, and we remember. The day we met. The day she took her first step. The day he shot his first deer. The day she delivered the monologue in “The Laramie Project” that silenced the auditorium. The day he gave me the ring.
If we had to carry with us every thing we feel, all of the time, who could function? The Wedding Dress Day, October 18, 2014, wasn’t about the dress. It was about her taking another step away and starting her own family, me letting go of the child in her and embracing the woman. It was about memories of my wedding day, and the joy I felt, and knowing now what I didn’t know then and seeing her where I was, all alive and shining, all her children and challenges and moonlit walks and family dinners and bills and weekends at home, in their own house, with the young man she will marry, ahead of her. The day was about love, and hope, and every thing we have felt through all these years together, mother and daughter, feelings without words.
I am so happy for her. She has found the person with whom she wishes to share her life. And he has found her. She’s exactly where she ought to be, and so am I, on this day, this ordinary day which may become, you never know, a day on which to hang my heart.
Here’s a fine recipe my daughter’s future mother-in-law made for us on the day we bought the Dress. It’s simple, and sweet, and goes on the Comfort Guaranteed list. Serve it up after a meal of stew and bread, maybe add some ice cream or whipped cream.
Spicy Baked Apples
6 baking apples, medium to large-sized
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup cinnamon red hot candies
½ tsp cinnamon (I triple the cinnamon, but that’s just me)
Do not peel the apples, as the skin helps them hold their shape when baking. Do slice off and set aside the very top of the apples. Core the apples, leaving a good half inch at the bottom. Arrange in an 8×8 buttered baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon red hots and cinnamon. Fill each apple with the mixture. Replace the apple tops and sprinkle the remaining mixture over.
Bake at 350, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until apples are tender. Baste with pan sauce and bake another 15 minutes or so, basting occasionally. Serve hot or cold with pan sauce spooned over apples.