children’s new life together. From my perspective, it seemed
like a kind gesture, but I could tell that this had deeper meaning
to my new friend who would soon give her daughter in
marriage. As the day approached, she made it clear that putting
together this basket was her highest priority on the day before
our children’s union.
As I discussed this request with someone close to me,
her wisdom shed light on the situation. This basket was a
transition object. It symbolized the passing of our beloved
children into their own nuclear family as well as sharing them
within each of our larger families-what a beautiful invitation.
With small children who sometimes struggle to
separate from mom and dad at night or when left in the care
of others, a blankie or well-loved stuffed animal often serve as
a transition object. When our daughter was distressed with the
adjustment to the kindergarten separation, we each wore a
special necklace or kept a carefully chosen rock in our pockets
to symbolize connection even in the midst of separation.
Marrying off a child requires a whole different level of
remaining connected while at the same time accepting and
making peace with healthy separation.
For my son’s soon to be mother-in-law, there was
magnified symbolism around the choosing and assembling of
this basket. At this point in time, Sybil had struggled with
illness for many years. The treatment options were
diminishing. At the time of her daughter’s wedding, she knew
deep in her heart that her days upon this earth were numbered.
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