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And Then They Were Married {Ben and Adalia}

wedding, marriage

Yesterday was full.

Full of emotion. Full of family. Full of travel. Full of tears. Full of joy.

Ben and Adalia were giddy with joy and excitement during the ceremony. Most eyes stayed dry until the father/daughter dance. Tears streamed down Chuck’s face as he danced with our firstborn. I held Apollo, my youngest child as Chuck danced with our first child. My other children sat in a row, quietly crying. The lyrics of the song were perfect:

Remember, I held her first. I was there when she took her first breath.

wedding, marriage

Adalia is the child who made us parents. Eighteen years ago we held our tiny six-pound baby in our arms. A precious miracle we had made ourselves. I remember marveling over her perfect little face, her tiny body. She was half me and half Chuck. Is there anything on earth more miraculous than that? A miniature human, made and born of our love?  We vowed to keep her safe and happy and promised her we would always protect her. I was 20 and Chuck was 23.

My heart feels tender and raw. Exposed. Not quite protected or tucked away inside where it belongs.

I am so happy for Adalia. Ben has set the bar high for my other daughters’ potential suitors. I cannot fathom “giving” my daughter to a man who I didn’t love and respect. Ben has proved himself over and over to me and Chuck. But still…here is a child who you have loved and protected for 18 years. You have encouraged her, wiped away her tears. You are there when she is happy and when she is sad.  She is everything to you. Everything. Her and her siblings.

And then you hand her over to the man she loves. Why is there no word in the English language for that feeling? To hand over the most precious gift you’ve ever been given. To trust another with your child? To let your child go, to soar. To triumph and to fail. And to do all of that with another person. To gracefully bow out. To back away. To let them create their own life together.

There are no words.

I am happy.

My heart is raw and tender.



  1. T.W.

    You’re right. There should be a word for that. Here’s praying all moms are blessed with a man like Ben for their daughters, and that all of our sons will grow up to be men like Ben!

  2. LW

    I’ve read your blog for many years, but have rarely, if ever, commented. Many, many Congratulations to Adalia and BEN! And many more to your family. This all seems so encompassed in LOVE and it’s very awesome to see. Much love in this time of transition for all.

  3. Anna

    My 8 year old daughter was so moved by their story. What a wonderful influence BEN! and Adalia have been on her, without even knowing! She watched the wedding with me and soaked up every word the pastor said. She loved the dress, the flowers, the music, the dancing… She even wanted me to video tape the live feed with our camera so she could watch it again! You should have seen her face when I told her the bride was the girl that gave us our kitty five years ago! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Stacy

    I have been feeling sad for you. I know you’re happy, but oh! those emotions– that you articulated SO well in this post, Renee. Praying for you!

  5. modeejae

    BEN! Has set the bar high for not just for the potential suitors of your girls! I pray my girls find someone who loves them as much as he loves your precious firstborn. I’ll continue to pray for your tender heart. I can’t even imagine.

  6. Melpub

    This is so lovely, the way you’ve described it–and a very beautiful picture of the two of them. This is what it means to be human–or what it should mean to be human. I feel lucky just to hear this story. Here I am thousands of miles away feeling like part of this story because it’s the story we all want to hear of a happy family and true love. I tried to watch the live streaming, which didn’t come through where I am and I’m glad to hear all went so well. Meanwhile I’m teaching writers with far less fortunate lives. So it is great to read a story with a happy ending!

  7. Bridget Floyd

    I have been reading your blog since Tucker was still a baby. I may have only commented once or twice, but I have watched your family with love and have always been inspired by your strength. I remember when Adalia was raising money to go on the trip where she met Ben! She always impressed me with her maturity and compassion, even while so young. I have enjoyed watching her bloom into the beautiful woman she has become. I didn’t think I would be able to watch the wedding, but as luck would have it, I turned on the feed just in time to see them say their vows. I bawled watching Chuck cry. I have two small girls and I cannot even begin to fathom what this must feel like for both of you. Thank you for sharing your family, your life, and your emotions with all of us. You are an amazing woman Renee! Congrats to Adalia and Ben! As well as to all of you!

  8. vivian

    this brings tears to my eyes as i can remember letting 3 of my daughters walk away from home to their own life journey. now i have 2 granddaughters whom i am sure will be on their own journey in years to come.
    Prayers and blessings to your beautiful daughter!

  9. Heather

    Just beautiful! (Reaching for the box of tissues)….. Congrats to the happy couple! I wish them a lifetime of happiness 🙂

  10. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Oh my goodness, my eyes are welling up. What beautiful words and a lovely post. I loved the video too… how sweet. It looks like the perfect day.

    I can’t imagine that day when I put my babies into the “hands” of another.

    Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the SHINE Blog Hop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      I know you already saw you featured on the SHINE Blog Hop but I wanted to say congrats on being the top viewed post! Wishing you a lovely day.

  11. Renee on Whidbey Island

    Thank you for letting us share this wedding with you. I am surprised you were on Whidbey Island. I live on W.I. and I can’t place the little cabin. That’s a good thing though — I might have crashed the wedding if I had known where it was!! (just kidding).
    I have been married to my husband for 49 years and I loved him then, but I have to say I love him more after all those years. It is so obvious that Ben and Adalia are totally enchanted with each other and in love, love, love!!! Of course people express their love differently as the years go by, but the way they are starting out brought back memories that made my eyes tear. Its a wonderful feeling and a wonderful way to start their new life together.

  12. Sam

    As another long time reader, infrequent commenter, I want to express my appreciation to you and your family for opening up your lives and precious moments to your audience. I must say, I was particularly struck by the video, and perhaps the sudden realisation that your family were REAL, not just people in words and pictures that I read each morning over breakfast.
    The love that Adalia and Ben share is pronounced and true and I hope this time of transition is as easy as possible given the undoubted emotional upheaval that such great changes bring, for your entire family. The bond between your children is obvious and I can not imagine it will be easy for them either, but it is so wonderful to see your family’s willingness to allow Adalia and Ben’s happiness, despite the immediate discomfort it causes you.

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