“Uncle Steven? Can you make sure no one blocks the driveway when they park”?
I heard my niece Delilah pose that request from behind me.
As I turned to tell her I would, my jaw gaped in stunned amazement.
There she stood in a Mossy Oak camouflage jacket, blue jeans and sneakers.
She knew what I was going to say and her eyes were dancing with glee behind her semi-round prescription glasses.
“Delilah! It is two forty and you are getting married in twenty minutes” I exclaimed in shock.
“I know. It’ll be okay” she replied in unworried amusement.
“Well, go inside and get ready”!
She just flashed a beautiful smile in return as I prepared to go honor her request.
“My tomboyish niece. She is her mother’s child” I muttered to myself with a worried sigh.
“Well, I guess we’ll be waiting a while” her father Johnny said to me with a half nervous and resigned laugh.
We make sure that no one blocks the driveway, so I grab my camera rig out of the car and take the short two hundred foot walk up the hill to the wedding site, an arch set up between the small pond and old family barn.
At Three O’clock, Preacher Randy Wood asks everyone to rise and I know it is showtime.
No time to think.
Just shoot and try to get it right.
I turn around to see my niece has transformed herself into a gorgeous bride, the light shimmering off of her ivory colored, sequined gown.
I cannot help but wonder to myself how in the world she pulled that one off in such a short period of time, noticing her light brown ringlets flowing like wind chimes.
We go through the motions of the wedding ceremony with me walking in circles taking photographs.
After it is all over, we go through the process of shooting post-wedding shots.
When that order is fulfilled, I tell Delilah “I want you to go up there where your Momma is and take her some flowers. I just had an idea for a shot”.
Delilah honors my request, making the short one hundred foot walk. As she does, I realize that this is the reason that she chose this spot for her wedding.
Delilah kneels down with the flowers and I start shooting.
She closes her eyes, purses her lips and doesn’t say a word but I think she is saying a prayer.
She places the flowers on her Momma’s grave and I am shooting rapid-fire the entire time.
At the tender age of sixteen, Delilah lost her Momma, Marcella Moore, to cancer after a ten year battle.
On Delilah’s Wedding Day, she wanted her Momma to be able to “see her”.
Marcella would have been so proud of her daughter’s resilience and determination. After all, she is her mother’s child.
I had it all planned to do a different story this week, but after that experience with Delilah at her Momma’s gravesite, I changed my mind.
To be honest, I make no apologies for it.
To my niece, Delilah:
I miss those days when you would sit on my lap watching Tele Tubbies. To your amusement, I would imitate them in a high pitched voice, exclaiming “Uh-Oh”! I miss coaching your Little League baseball team, although you couldn’t lay off the high fastballs. I’ll never forget the time when your Aunt Lou Anne and I bought you your first pair of high heels. As hard as it was, nobody dared laugh as you teetered down the aisle of the shoe store.
All that being said, I DO look forward at seeing exactly what you become, watching you grow & prosper. I also look forward to the day that I can spoil your children as well.
In the meantime, please know that we love you and are always here for you.
No matter what.
Uncle Steven & Auntie