"Kelly, Did you spray yourself with perfume again? You know it bothers my allergies.” I turned to deliver my daughter one of my most potent glares while she was busily applying her lipstick in the visor mirror.
“Sorry, mom. I forgot!” she replied with a degree of feigned innocence. I bit back my next retort and focused on my driving. I only had two more days for that fragrance to linger in my hallways or greet me in my laundry room. I choked back a sob.
My daughter was getting married. I knew I could handle the marriage part as I had raised her to find a godly husband and move into her own home like I did. I was discovering I couldn’t handle the part where she kisses me goodbye and flies to the other side of the country.
Mother’s Day weekend. I wiped back thoughts of unfairness as I pulled on my new dress. With the wedding flurry beginning, we rushed to the country church she and I had discovered months before to hold her special ceremony She had known immediately this was the place and we had hugged in celebration after the tour.
“Are you going to be okay?” My husband reached his arm around my shoulder as I stepped out of the bridal room. She was breathtaking and I needed to compose myself. I prayed God would get me through this day.
“I’ll be fine. I am trying not to count the hours.” I sniffed. He eyed me with that twinkle and pulled a well worn tissue from his tuxedo pocket.
“Here, I’ll share with you what I have left.” I took a deep breathe and reentered the room for one last picture with her before we gave her away.
“The reception is great. You both did a wonderful job. I’m sure Kelly appreciates all you did for her.” My best friend rested beside me at our linen covered table. The last crumbs of the wedding cake lay discarded on stacked plates.
“Thanks. They seemed to enjoy themselves.” My eyes skirted back to my daughter who was now lovingly linking arms with her husband while sharing last hugs.
I bit back my disappointment. My hopes still lingered on a scenario where they decided not to move across the country. I thought about her stacks of boxes waiting to be loaded into the moving van the next morning and driven to their new location by her generous in-laws. Her memories with us had been lovingly wrapped and prepared for their long trip.
“Let me get you some more tissues.” My friend dug into her tiny clutch purse and pulled out a slightly torn tissue. I giggled when I remembered all the used tissues I had been the recipient of that day.
It was time. I looked up and noticed my husband going in for his third round of hugs. It was my turn. I wiped back my last escaping tear and rose from my chair. How would I ever make it to her? I felt someone pat my arm and another hand grip my shoulder. Kelly caught my movement and was in my arms before I took another step.
“I love you mom.” she choked into my shoulder. “I love you too, honey.” I muffled the words into her upswept hair. We squeezed until I knew it was time to let her go. I reached for her face and cupped her cheek.
“I’ll miss you so much but I know you will be happy.” Kelly nodded between her tears. “Remember that Dad and I are always just a phone call away if you ever need us.”
“I’ll remember, mom. You and dad have always been there for me. Thanks for praying for this day,” she smiled. I realized then God had answered my prayers.
“Let me get these things. I’ll be right in.” My husband offered. I picked my way through the garage and entered our home through the laundry room. My nose instantly detected the fragrance of body wash and perfume. Walking past my daughter’s bathroom, I noted the nearly empty vanity. My eyes caught on a blue box sitting next to the guest towel. A tag with the word MOM in my daughter’s distinctive handwriting hung from its side.
I squeezed back my brimming emotions as I pried the gift open. A smile forced its way over my tears. Flipping the cap, I doused myself with the sweet scent of perfume.
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