In recent weeks I’ve asked my 3 1/2 year-old daughter repeatedly, “What does a flower girl do?” She replied, “They throw flowers down the aisle before Aunt Tahlia gets married!” I was impressed that she understood this. Charlotte was extremely excited to be the flower girl in my step-sister’s wedding this past weekend. She knew she would get cake, get to stay up late and wear a pretty dress.
It takes time to recover from a family wedding. The preparations, scheduling, events and emotions are exhausting. I always feel like I need a vacation after a family wedding. Having your young kid in the wedding party? Psh! That’ll wear you out like nothing else.
We strategically timed meals and napping that day. She knew it was the big day. She said, “It’s my special day! I’m the special girl!” I hated to break it to her that her aunt was the special girl, you know, being the bride and all, but if the title of “special girl” got her down the aisle, I wasn’t going to argue.
I WISH I had someone filming her coming down the aisle with my phone. I’m kicking myself for not doing that. We have to wait for the videographer. I’ll have to tell you what happened in my own words.
It was a long walk down some steep steps for two little girls in poofy dresses. Charlotte and Kylee held hands and wandered down a brick pathway to the outdoor awning where the bride and groom were to say “I do.” They clutched their baskets, staring back at the smiling crowd, “Canon in D” coming through the speakers. We told them, “When you get to the bottom of the steps, you can throw the petals down the aisle.”
In hindsight there were two problems with that:
- We didn’t practice with petals at the rehersal. They have some fire code or something. The venue was particular about when you could throw petals.
- We used the wrong verb. We said “throw” instead of “toss” or “drop.”
The girls got to the bottom the stairs and stopped, though Pachelbel’s tune continued. They looked at each other. They looked down at the yellow rose petals still in their baskets. They looked confused as the adults dressed in matching dresses and tuxedos whispered “Okay! Throw the petals!” while playing a game of flower-dropping charades. They looked at us like we were insane. We were. We had not told these poor children exactly what to do. So as children do, they had their own interpretation.
Remember I said we used the wrong verb? Charlotte threw her petals. She threw them. She tossed them in the air with the the flair only a “special girl” can have. It was with the dramatics of a runway model or in her mind, a fairy princess, that she threw the petals and watched them fall. She threw the heck out of each one. Those flowers didn’t have a prayer. We wiped away tears of laughter as Kylee sprinted to her mom and Charlotte emptied her basket, one enthusiastic fling at a time. They were adorable little show stealers.
We danced into the reception hall to Taylor Swift’s latest pop crossover “Shake It Off.” Charlotte now refers to it as “the wedding song.” As the sun set she asked if she could finally dance. Dinner was over, the cake had been cut. I told her it was okay for her to take the floor.
She did. All. Night. Long. She wouldn’t even come off the dance floor for cake. The song didn’t matter. Earth, Wind & Fire, Garth Brooks, Iggy Azalea. Everyone. She even joined the crowd for her version of “The Wobble” and “The Cupid Shuffle.” She earned the little blisters on her feet. She saw other girls with their shoes off, she joined in.
We got in the car around 11:00pm, the latest she’s ever stayed up in her life. She said sleepily from the back seat, “That was really fun, Mama.”
I will never forget the looks on the bride and groom’s faces as they made their vows. I’ll never forget the fun and love at a great wedding. Most of all, I’ll remember my curly-haired flower girl in her poofy dress dancing until her feet hurt because she could. I watched her hoping one day she would have this much fun at her own wedding, as only “special girls” can.