I realised I was going through a new kind of birth process. Our daughter was about to step over a threshold. Later in the church when my husband 'gave' her away it really hit home. She had moved from our family to one of her own. She and her husband had begun their own community.
The wedding was wonderful. Everything about it had significance; the rings made by her sister, the song composed and performed by her brother during the signing of the register, the flowers in the church she and her grandmother had arranged. Every detail had been thought through and the message was: everything and everyone mattered. The love, care, sensitivity and attention to detail with which they as a couple had organised the whole thing shone out throughout the day. People kept coming up to congratulate me on an amazing day - but honestly, it was all my daughter and son-in-law's work.
I focused mostly on 'Tissues and Issues' plus the famous jam jars and was the Feeder for the week - having filled the freezer with food so that creating a meal each day was easy, especially when the night before the wedding we had 16 family & young friends for a mad, sad, lovely, laughing, crying celebration of her final night at home.
I really needed the tissues a few days later. One son back to Spain, dear friends departed for Ireland, the couple on their honeymoon - and it was all over. I was delighted for everyone, thrilled it had all gone so brilliantly but so many goodbyes on one day were just too much.
I was sad that the family had changed, sad that it had all gone so quickly and sad that it was the end of an era. Meryl Streep kept breaking into the Mama Mia song in my head "Slipping through my fingers ..." and I'd be off crying again.
As the weeks have passed I have noticed a change in my world view. I am recognising the shift is not so much about my daughter's new status but about my relationship to it. It's as if I have been set free on some level. I will always be her mother, and I delight in that, but I have also been released from being her parent and am now also a novice mother-in-law with a distant possibility of graduating to grandparent.
Don't get me wrong, I am not in a hurry to be a granny, I still have two (albeit, nearly grown-up) children at home! But I recognise that the next significant stage of my life is beckoning. I have done the Maiden, the Mother and now the Crone is calling and, actually, it feels really exciting.
In her book, The Wisdom of Menopause, Dr Christiane Northrup explains how, as hormone balances change, the drop in oestrogen causes the area of the brain associated with nurturing and nesting to shrink but the area to do with creativity and vision is suddenly supercharged. Yay! That is what the Crone is really about and explains why we get so desperate for our kids to leave; we want to get on with our lives, we have ideas and plans we can finally fulfill!
Letting go is such a powerful exercise and makes room for amazing things to happen. It took a few days to work through letting go of my daughter, and believe me, if that Abba song plays I am still in tears, but I can see now that by letting go I am allowing so many possibilities to come into my life.
When I come up against any resistance to it I remember to employ the phrase ‘Let Go and Let Grace'. It has an elegance and femininity that sits comfortably in my mind and I like the image of sitting back and allowing things to happen.
The Wisdom of the Crone!