On Monday (two days after the wedding) I was posting wedding photos on Facebook and trying to tag Jane.  Jane Xu could no longer be found, and instead Jane Fox popped up.  I paused for a second as if not comprehending what was happening.  Suddenly it dawned on me that my daughter has a new identity, one that will be the most important for the rest of her life: the wife to her husband and the mother to their future children.  It was a moment of awakening.  How does a mother feel at a moment like this? How should she feel?  Sad, happy, lost, joy, pride?   For me it was a mixture of all.  There are many occasions in life when one has to let go.  This is definitely one of them.

When our girls were very little, mom and dad were their whole world.  A few years later, they needed friends, playdates and sleepovers, and mom arranged those activities for them.  In high school, friendship became more critical than ever, and at times they regarded us parents as antiquated.  Then one by one they left home for college, leaving us sad, nervous and lost for days, weeks or even months.  Jane met her love in the freshman year.  Over the course of the next  five years, their love has flourished and matured.  Jim proposed last October.  It was a joyful day for both families.

Jane and Jim planned the perfect wedding for themselves.  The weather was ideal on August 12th 2017, the church welcoming and elegant, and the reception venue unique and charming.  After a morning of hustle and bustle to get everyone ready, the moms and bridesmaids all became teary-eyed when the bedroom door of the hotel bridal suite opened, exposing behind it the bride in a white, beaded, sweetheart neckline, fit to flare gown.  She looked absolutely stunning and happy.  Dad saw the bride in the wedding gown for the first time at the hotel lobby.  He marveled at how beautiful and grownup his little girl looked and enveloped her in a tight embrace. There was a flood of tears as Jane walked down the aisle in her dad’s arm.  I turned around to look at Jim and saw that he was getting quite emotional.  Upon reaching the alter, Dad hugged his little girl, and then shook hands with Jim before thoughtfully placing her hand in his. Slowly he walked away, turning around half way to his seat.

The priest shared a few fun facts about Jim and Jane in his 10-minute message, which added a personal touch to a blissful and yet solemn ceremony.  Jim’s dad Mark sang Ave Maria when the bride and groom left the stage to pay respect to Saint Mary.  I didn’t know he had such an amazing soprano voice! The bride raised her arms and cheered when the priest pronounced them husband and wife, such a typical Jane gesture!

The crowd followed the newlyweds outside the church building, cheering, blowing bubbles and waving to them as they got into the trolley to go around the block. A beaming Jackie (Jane’s mother-in-law) turned to me and said,  “It’s over Linda.  Now we can party!”

Before heading to the Artsgarden for the reception, the trolley took the bridal party and the parents around downtown Indy for photo shooting.  Later in the afternoon, fatigue was evident on the girls’ faces due to lack of sleep and walking around in high heels.  Everyone sat on the concrete stair steps to rest as soon as the photographers were working on the new couple exclusively.

The exhaustion was only short-lived. Each pair of the bridesmaids and groomsmen entered the reception hall with one of a kind improvisation, announcing the grand entrance of Mr. and Mrs. Fox! After the funny and yet touching speeches by the fathers from both sides, the best man and maid of honor, Jane and Jim stepped to the floor dancing to the tune of ‘Then’ by Brad Paisley Cover.  I loved the way she purposely lifted her head and arm and smiled her charming smile every time they both opened up to face the audience.  Next were the father-daughter and mother-son dances.  I held my breath.  Five years ago, Joe and I started the ballroom dance lessons, the motivation being someday he’d need to dance with our girls at their weddings!  Jane, living in a different state and being occupied with the wedding planning, could hardly find any time to practice with her dad.  And there they were, on the dance floor!  The song “Over the Rainbow” started and they moved graciously together, smiling.  Dad prompted the bride to turn from time to time, and occasionally they looked at each other and uttered a few words here and there.  It was beautiful!  I went up and hugged both of them when the music stopped.  Jackie and Jim’s slow dance was even simpler, but they gazed into each other’s eyes with so much love that hearts were melting.  At that point, I realized that the dance wasn’t about techniques or moves, it was about the unbreakable bond between the parent and the child. 

Jim has a big family, and boy, did they know how to party!  This was also a highly anticipated IU reunion. The dance floor was crowded by the young and the old, with distinctive and bold body movements to express the sentiment of the lyrics accompanied by lip singing.  Bartenders were busy mixing the cocktails and the crowd got louder and more animated as time went on.  At one point, the IU alum sang “This is Indianna” while the red and white banner was held up.  It caused quite an excitement! Around 9:30 pm, two dozen men in boxers ran from the stairs down to the reception hall.  After getting into places, they climbed on top of each other to form a human pyramid.  Jim helped Jane get on top.  During her very brief stay up there, she posed and turned around to kiss Jim.  What a girl!  It’s a wedding tradition of Jim’s family.

Our 11-year-old boy Jake kept his promise to Jim that he would be in every bridal group picture.  While trying on the tux, he complained that the bow tie choked him and the shoes bit into his feet, but he kept them on all day.  Boy did he look handsome! 

Jim thanked me and Joe repeatedly for giving them such a wonderful and memorable wedding.  “This is the best day of my life!” he proclaimed.  Both his brothers called me their “second mom”.  How sweet can it get!

Mrs. Jane Fox, my beautiful and sweet girl, I wish you happiness, health and prosperity with your husband, original and extended families.  You are a very lucky girl because you are loved and adored by so many!!