On a gusty Friday afternoon, with our umbrellas in hand, my 8-year-old daughter and I braved unseasonal heavy downpours to attend a very special wedding.
I remember, as an 8-year-old girl, being enthralled by everything to do with weddings. The flowers, the romance, the fairytales, and yes, even the kissing. But more than anything else, the bridal dresses had me utterly entranced. And, as a budding seamstress, I would spend hours on end sketching the most extravagant designs as I daydreamed about my own wedded future.
My daughter is just as fascinated with weddings, and was simply thrilled when, earlier this year, her beloved school teacher announced her own engagement. The upcoming wedding soon became a daily topic of conversation in our home, so it was exceptionally exciting news when her teacher warmly extended an invitation to all her students to attend the wedding ceremony.
The anticipation on my daughter’s face was wonderful to watch as the date approached. Her excitement was contagious as the days were meticulously counted down. The event was gearing up to be the highlight of my daughter’s school year.
And her teacher did not disappoint.
The day finally arrived, and, as I drove my daughter to the wedding, I realised that it was my own 8-year-old self that mirrored her excitement. I watched my daughter blissfully ignore the grey sky overhead and the many puddles underfoot, and eagerly take her place in the church alongside her school friends. I watched her absorb the spectacle of a grand old church overflowing with elaborate flower arrangements and glamorously frocked guests. And I watched her catch her breath as she first caught sight of the bride, a picture of elegance in her veil and long white gown.
I listened to the minister assure the couple with the saying that rain on their wedding day will mean no tears during their marriage, and I found myself trying to remember if the same words were spoken on my own drizzly wedding day. As the couple stood hand in hand, I listened to their admissions of love and their vows to honour, cherish and protect. And I heard the church erupt with happiness as the husband kissed his bride.
I watched my daughter, primely positioned at the far end of the aisle, revelling in the magic of a wedding. I watched her bursting with delight as the newlyweds slowly made their way back down the red carpet. And I watched my daughter’s teacher – a beautiful bride, but an even more beautiful soul – stop to share the excitement with all her adoring students, making them feel every bit as special and loved as she did that day.
I felt the 8-year-old joy that my daughter was brimming with. And I felt the emotion catch in my throat and well in my eyes. The students will talk about this wedding at school for a long time to come. They will speak of a dazzling bride and a romantic wedding, entirely unaware of the special lesson given by their teacher that day. An important lesson, not about love nor marriage, but about being ever gracious and kindhearted.
And although this teacher is with her for only a year, I am sure my daughter will cherish these memories and carry her lessons forever.