I just ruined everything! That was the last thought that went through Breely’s mind in last weeks post. She’d tripped, thrown a hat full of flowers at her aunt, and in her mind completely ruined the wedding. But had she really?
“Breely?” I starred upward as Grandpa’s face came into view above me.
“I’m ok.” I whimpered and tried to ignore the tears glistening in my eyes.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.” I wasn’t hurt physically but my heart had clenched accusingly at my terrible blunder. How could I fall down in the middle of Aunt Rose’s walk up the isle?
A giggle behind us brought our attention to said Aunt Rose, her cheeks were red and she was grinning at me. Another chuckle escaped her mouth, making her body shake. Flower pedals, strewn all over her and Grandpa, tumbled around her like fairies dancing on a breeze. In fact the bright purple pedals, against her pure white dress and sparkling veil, made my aunt look very much like a flower fairy.
“Are you ok?” Her face was seeking seriousness as she bent over me, holding out her hand.
“Yes.” I croaked mournfully and tried to stand without failing again. I pushed upward, tottered to my feet, and charged for my chair in a manner that was in no way graceful. Seeing that I was ok, Aunt Rose and Grandpa continued up the isle and soon my aunt and almost-uncle were once again gazing at each other adoringly. At last Aunt Rose reached John, they took hands, and as the music crescendoed excitedly they turned toward our pastor together.
The sermon was short, but long enough for me. A nest of flowers clustered on my aunt’s head reminded me again and again that I had just thrown a hat full of flowers at the bride. But the wedding was short and sweet and everyone seemed to forget my dramatic hat toss. So while Great-Aunt Matilda sniffled loudly in my ear, I focused on enjoying it all.
At last Aunt Rose and John were pronounced married and they kissed. Against my wishes I missed the romance of that moment because my younger cousin, who had been the ring bearer and was seated beside me, buried his face in my skirt with a loud cry of,
“EEW!!” He startled me, made Aunt Matilda cry all the more, and got the attention of everyone but my newly married aunt and uncle. As the violins started a joyous tune my cousin looked up at me with somber four year old eyes and whispered,
“I’ll never do that.”
“But what if you get married?” I questioned.
He scrunched up his face. “I’ll just marry someone who doesn’t like to kiss.”
I laughed and looked up to see the bridesmaids and groomsmen headed down the isle after the bride and groom. The wedding was almost over! Still grinning, I helped my cousin and weeping Aunt Matilda out of their chairs and together we headed out behind the rest of the family and guests.
The sun, a glowing orb of gold, was about to set and cool evening air had swept in like an ocean wave, ruffling hats and skirts in our little church. I stepped outside, with my cousin’s hand held tightly in mine, and soaked in the scent of spring. Lighting bugs flickered on and off, the wind stirred up the green, baby grass and fresh, new leaves. The smell of cake and ice cream caught on the hinges of the wind and blew towards me. Peace sifted through us all like the wind meandering through the trees.
I saw my aunt and uncle laughing as everyone surrounded them at the dance floor. Their dance was slow and sweet. Rose pedals, from Aunt Rose’s earlier attack, dropped one by one to the floor as they moved. Soon everyone else had joined in dancing and celebrating.
I stood back, feeling a little too tired to dance when I heard the rustle of a many-layered skirt and looked up. Aunt Rose was smiling down at me. Uncle John, who’d been caught by Grandpa and was talking to him, was not far behind.
“You look a little glum.” She noted. “Is something wrong?”
“I . . . I’m sorry I threw the hat at you.”
Aunt Rose giggled, clamping her hand over her mouth as if trying to with hold back gales of laughter. “Don’t be.”
“But I totally ruined the moment.”
“No, you didn’t.” I looked up to see Uncle John having approached us. “You tossed flowers all over her! It fit the moment perfectly. I think it should be a new flower girl tradition to throw flowers on the bride.”
I was sorely confused.
“Just picture it.” He explained. “Your aunt with flowers streaming all around her.”
“Trust me.” Aunt Rose grinned. “Once I saw you were ok, I found it hilarious.” Her voice was lined with laughter trying to escape.
I smiled slowly. “I just didn’t want to ruin the wedding.” The two looked at each other and Rose laughed as Uncle John replied.
“It’s not about the wedding being perfect. We just want to be together.”
“And that’s how I feel about you.” Aunt Rose bent to my level, her dress poofed out around her look a giant, upside down flower. “You don’t have to do something great and mighty. I’m just glad your my niece. Besides,” She added with a wink. “it’s nice to have a hat thrown at you every so often. It wakes you up and reminds you that life’s short!”
I giggled. “I guess your right.
“Of course I’m right! Come on.” Aunt Rose stood and grasped my hand. “You need to come dance! I want my niece and flower girl to be having fun.”
“Ok.” I beamed. My heart was set at peace again knowing my aunt and uncle were happy. I grinned. “It won’t be hard to have fun since I’m with my family.”
Aunt Rose hugged me close, beaming. “I couldn’t be more happy to be your family.”
And she was right. Life wasn’t about having a perfect day whether it was a wedding day or not. I remembered the day in the park when she’d asked me to be her flower girl. Right then I’d wanted to help make her wedding perfect. I didn’t quite understand back then but all at once I realized that it was really the people that made each day perfect. Whether weddings or walks in the park, it seemed to me that each day’s true beauty and joy was from memories made with the people I loved most.
So, as it turned out, I’d helped make Aunt Rose’s wedding perfect after all!
Plus, I’d started a new flower girl tradition. And as we twirled onto the dance floor, Aunt Rose with Uncle John and me with my little cousin, I glimpsed the faces of my loved ones. I saw my parents, Mom was laughing at something Dad had said, and my grandparents who were dancing slowly while watching us all with bright eyes. Aunt Matilda was still sniffling and so many other friends and family members happily surrounded us. Last of all my eyes came to the little four year old clutching my hands and trying so hard to dance. He grinned back happily as he accidentally stomped on my toes again.
Lights flickered around the wooden dance floor, glimmering on dresses and shiny black shoes. The night seeped in, cool and quiet as always. Music danced around us, grabbing our hands and hearts and pulling us into its motion. All at once I giggled, sounding slightly, just slightly, like my favorite aunt. And in the cheerful scene of a wedding, there had never been a happier flower girl.