Lorie Love

Lorie Love

She wore a beautiful yellow gown, tailor-made just for her. The dress twirled just right as she pranced daintily across the floor. Her white patent leather shoes had a small heel, but not too big to keep her from taking off in a run when the excitement of the day insisted that she didn’t stand still.

Atop her head, a sparkly tiara made her feel she really was princess for a day.

Around her, laughter emanated from friends and family. There were presents and delicious food.

She had been waiting for this special day for months. She had an important role — maid of honor. Quite a big deal for a 9-year-old.

She had stood smiling as the bride and groom said their vows. Her poetry reading wowed the crowd and she beamed with pride as she exited the ceremony.

It had been all she hoped for.

But then, music began and Daddy took his new wife onto the dance floor for their first dance. They smiled lovingly as they looked into each other’s eyes.

“And if you knew how happy you are making me. I never thought that I’d love anyone so much ... It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me. ...” The words of the song pierced her young heart.

I watched from across the room as she tried with all her strength to hold back the tears. Eyes shut tight, she sniffled and dared not watch them dance.

Suddenly, this was the worst day of her life.

I felt her heartbreak. I knew that heartbreak. It’s my own.

Nothing could stop me from going to her, the new stepdaughter of my best friend. I wanted to make it stop. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I wanted her to know it was OK to cry.

I sat down next to her.

“Are these sad tears or happy tears?”

“Sad,” she said, even though I already knew.

“Can I hug you?” I asked. I wanted to scoop her up in my arms and rescue her, not only from today’s pain, but the future pain of her situation.

“I want my mommy and daddy to be together,” she said.

“I know, baby. I know.”

I just held her.

She kept her dignity, didn’t make a scene, didn’t run out of the room. She sniffled, choked back her tears and let me be there with her.

“I want my mommy and daddy to be together.”

“I know. The same thing happened to me when I was a little girl. I’m sorry,” I said. “I know it hurts.”

Her grandmother came over and I left them, feeling as devastated as I did 24 years ago when my parents married other people and drove the nail in the coffin of my hopes that they would reunite.

I knew she was shattered.

The song was over. Here came Daddy.

“It’s your turn. Will you dance with Daddy?” He saw the tears collected in her eyes.

As I walked away, I watched them. He was holding her, spinning her around, telling her he loved her.

I’ll never forget the pain on her face.

They finished dancing and the music changed. Ever the little lady, Bridget made a quiet exit into the hallway. As she walked past, I asked if I could come along.

We sat on a couch in the hallway of the hotel. Finally, as if she couldn’t wait a second longer, she sobbed. I sat close, hoping to provide some comfort.

“Did it just now hit you?” I asked. I knew she had been too excited about the day’s festivities to register what it all really meant.

“Yeah,” she said quietly. “I want my mommy and daddy to be together.”

“I know. I’m not going to say anything to try to make you feel better, because I know it won’t help, OK?”

She nodded.

“But you know your mommy and daddy both love you, right?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“And you know it’s not your fault, right?”

“Yeah.”

She cried a few more minutes. A tiny trail of mascara trickled down her cheek. I sat there, speechless.

“I’ve cried out all my tears,” she announced, finally looking me in the eye.

“OK,” I said, hoping against hope that she was right.

I’m almost 29 years old and still I haven’t cried out all of mine.

Lorie Love is assistant editor of the Richmond Register. Reach her at llove@richmondregister.com or 624-6690.

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