The light was blinking red. The camera was on and rolling. She gripped the microphone in her hand. Her voice cracked and her eyes began to water. It was a private moment between the new bride, her husband, and her mother. Though she was nearly 3,000 miles away, it was as though she were there in the room for her daughter’s South Carolina Wedding.
I remember conversations leading up to the wedding between Alyssa. She spoke about how important it was that her mom be present when she married Jaylen. The wedding planning process was not an easy one for Alyssa and Jaylen. Her mother had fallen ill, and as a result they’d had to change their date twice. Soon, it became very clear that there was a real possibility that Alyssa’s father would be the only one giving her away that day. Their wedding planning timeline dropped from 8 months to 1 week. More importantly, their dream California wedding quickly shifted to a hometown South Carolina wedding.
The days leading up to their wedding were uneasy as Alyssa and Jaylen traveled across the country to visit her mother. Since Alyssa’s mom, Kristen was unable to travel back to South Carolina for her daughter’s wedding, new challenges arose.
The Big Day - A South Carolina Wedding
Even though she was physically on the other side of the country, Kristen was a part of every step of the day. She was in the Kitchen as Marcie and Sierra prepared the food for the guests to eat. She was in the hall as Walter worked to make sure everything was in order for the ceremony to follow. And she was in the room as Brittney helped Alyssa into her dress. Though she was far away, she was in everyone’s thoughts and in everyone’s hearts. Through them, she was there.
A Sigh of Relief
There was a sigh of relief as the tension visibly exhaled from Alyssa’s body. She made it. She made her way to the man of her dreams with her mother all but by her side. That was all she had hoped for. All that she needed, before taking those next steps and saying those next words, was to be surrounded by the ones she loves most and who love her most dear.
After the vows and rings were exchanged and the first kiss had been had, Alyssa and Jaylen stole a quiet moment to speak directly to mom. Thanks, yet again to livestreaming services the newlyweds were able to connect and celebrate from afar. After that, they stepped away for a video call where Kristen could finally welcome Jaylen to her family. The call was charged with emotion. However, the smile on Kristen’s face said it all. She wore a smile so bright, nothing could put it out. I do not think it possible for her to have been any happier or more proud to call Jaylen family. Kristen was grateful to have him be her daughter’s protector; her grandson’s stepfather. All was well in that moment.
A Note to Alyssa and Jaylen
Alyssa and Jaylen, our time to know you was brief. However, we are grateful to have played a part in your much grander journey. We are moved by your story and know that the love that you share will outlast lifetimes. You live by example, and for that reason, will set the tone for your future generations. May you laugh, nag, and push each other’s buttons for many years to come. And when the challenges arise, because you know they will, don’t forget to jump feet first and eyes wide open.