I was her world, probably from birth to kindergarten……maybe a little longer. Even until she entered middle school, perhaps. She was my little girl and she thought I hung the moon. As she got on into the Middle school years and through high school, life got a little bumpy for Erin. But I never lost hope…. never gave up or failed to believe in her. It was just recently that I realized just how difficult things were for her in high school. It certainly was not reflected in her grades. They were always above par. I’m not much on regrets, but I wish I could have done more for her. I have heard what does not kill you makes you stronger. I believe Erin came out of those rough years stronger! It is to her credit she has held her head high and moved forward. Yes…. “Living well is the best revenge”! She is such a wonderful young woman. She graduated High School with Honors, and is now set to graduate from the University of West Georgia in April! And her grades have been fantastic. Perpetually making the Dean’s list! Now she is a married woman, Erin Hammond Parker.
She used to think we were “mean” parents when she was in high school, not letting her attend parties. Especially if we suspected there would be alcohol no supervision. We gave her a curfew. This was a source of many of arguments. We held firm. She did not always like these rules. But recently she sent a text that melted my heart. It was back in May. I hope she does not mind me quoting. “Hey Momma….. Thank you so much for putting up with me all those years. The problems that I had were not at all a result of my raising. I’d hate to think of what I might have been without y’all’s love and support! I couldn’t have asked for two more loving parents. I love you, Momma, So very much. I always will. Thank you for everything you have done, still do, and will continue to do. (though I don’t deserve it) I only hope I can show my children all the patience and love you have shown me. You’re the best. Love Erin”
So….a while back after high school…Erin and I were talking about what her wedding would be like when she would marry. She was going through the details and she said she wanted me as her Matron of honor. It was astonishing! ! I really had not heard of that. I thought she would forget that. But NO she did not! Last Saturday my Erin and Adam were married, and I was her Matron of honor. I shared this honor attendant role with my niece, Angel. It was quite touching. A day I will never forget!
When getting my things out of the room where the bridesmaids set up camp, I saw a gift wrapped box. Erin said it was for me and dad. We opened it. It was an engraved frame and a most touching letter:
“Dear Mom and Dad,
I know I have put some gray hairs on your heads throughout the years (More on Daddy’s apparently). I want you to know how grateful I am that you stuck by me. You never stopped believing in me. Thanks to your enduring love and support, I have come a long way. I have you both to thank for all that I have become.
You have given me the most amazing life. I could not have asked for better parents. I got the two best parents in the world. I don’t count my blessings near enough. However, ya’ll are at the top of my list.
Today, I am getting married. It’s a big step. It changes so many things. However, it will never change the fact that I have always been, and will always be, your little girl. I love you so much. Words can not describe.
Do not worry about me as I make this leap. You set a great example for me. Thanks to you, I know what it means to love, sacrifice, support, and provide. I may fumble some along the way, but I will get there. I have you both as my guiding light.
I love you, Momma and Daddy. Always have. Always will
Last Saturday, 12/08/12 was a day I will never forget. I was Matron of Honor at my daughter’s side at a most important milestone of her life. We embrace a new son-in-law, Adam, into the family. We welcome a happily ever after for our Erin and Adam.