A Mom and her Son (November, 2008)

It’s David’s wedding day. There he is, standing in front of me, asking a bit nervously “Well, what do you think?”

I look at my son, handsomely dressed in his rented tuxedo, his ponytail cut off earlier that morning into an attractive short hairstyle. It was his surprise to his waiting bride. I didn’t know what to say. He was my little boy and yet he was a man, ready to assume the role his father and I had anticipated since the day he was born. And yet, when did he grow so big? How had the years gone by so quickly?

People always comment on a father’s feelings as he escorts his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, but no one talks about the mom and her son. My thoughts went to the unfairness of it all, wondering if this was what I was now reduced to and must accept.

As the groom’s mother, I really have no important role to play on this most important day of his life. I, who had held him close in my arms while I wiped his nose the first time he cried. I, who had rushed him to the hospital when he tripped over a sprinkler head and broke his ankle. I, who straightened his tie for his prom night and worried through the wee hours until he finally came home.

I was to just be there, my presence an unspoken symbol of my love and support.

I fretted if my feelings were an indication on the type of mother-in-law I would be. I want to be a good one. I loved my future daughter-in-law. In some ways, I couldn’t believe someone like Dave had been able to convince someone as beautiful and intelligent as Kirsten to marry him. I knew I was blessed. And yet there was something poignant permeating my heart, knowing that my life and his would change from this day forward.

“You look great David”, I finally answered. His face brightened, his smile reminding me so much when he was a little boy, caught red-handed getting into mischief. “Then let’s go!” he replied, holding the door open for me.

It was after the ceremony, during the reception as I mingled and exchanged pleasantries with the guests, when my daughter-in-law approached me. She was absolutely radiant, aglow with love. “I want you to know how much I love your son,” she began. “His compassion, his concern for others, his values – all stem from how you raised him. I hope to do as good as a job when I have children.” And then she was whisked away for the first dance with her new husband.

I watched her in David’s strong arms, waltzing around the room, when it dawned on me. God gave me the boy; I gave back the man. Every exit leads to an entry someplace else. David wasn’t leaving my life; he was re-entering it with the woman he loved. And I was fortunate enough to be part of their future.

Dave came to my side. “May I have this dance Mom?”

I laughed joyously. “Absolutely”, I replied, and then continued with a glint in my eye, “And by the way, when are you going to make me a grandmother?”

Men Have Their Say (November, 2006)

So much focus is on the Bride and her day that little attention is given to the men. How involved do men get in planning their wedding? After all, it’s their day too. took this intriguing question and asked Grooms for their comments. We were interested to learn what stood out most in their minds, or what they took charge of. The response was as varied as the men themselves. Here’s what they told us:

“My bachelor party was the greatest. It wasn’t like anything you’d imagine. My best man arranged for all of us to meet at a paintball range. For two hours we waged war on each other, getting soaked with paint. Afterwards we went to a local pub downing a few beers, laughing over our antics and feats of bravery.”

“I insisted on being the one to choose the tuxedos for my best man and groomsmen. Sometimes girls can get to frilly in their color scheme (that has to match) and what they want the men to wear. I didn’t want any paisley looking vests or pink cummerbunds on the guys, or worse yet, ruffled shirts.”

“My now-father-in-law scared the dickens out of me the night before the wedding. We were all staying at the hotel where the wedding was to take place. While his “little girl” laughed with all the wedding party and family gathered at the rehearsal dinner, he quietly took me aside and said, “Don’t ever hurt my baby. I own a shotgun, 5 acres of land, and have a shovel”. I never knew if he was kidding or not.”

“My bride was and is the best. In planning the wedding, she made sure to include my mom in a lot of the details. Once, with her mom, they all went shopping and had lunch together. She’d call to let my mom know when guests from my side of the family RSVP’d to the invitation, and what gift they sent us. Mom loved being involved. She got to know why I loved Jeannie so much.”

“My bride turned into a true “bridezilla”. I couldn’t believe how little things would set her off, like the color of ribbon not being the exact right shade of blue for some party favors. She felt she could say anything she wanted to people, saying it was her day and she could do whatever she wanted. She turned me off so much I started to second-guess marrying her. I mean, there’s a lot of things that will happen in life, some good and some not so good. I want a partner to share the ups and downs and not over-react when something doesn’t go just her way.”

“What stands out most in my mind? The honeymoon. Enough said.”

“I wanted a great band – not a DJ – at our wedding. In my mind, there’s nothing like live entertainment to really get the party going. The entire responsibility was mine. I took months researching bands, getting demo tapes or attending one of their gigs, before selecting the one I wanted. It was well worth it. Our reception was a blast.”

“All I wanted was to get married to the woman I loved. The wedding was hers. The planning of the however, wherever, whatever, whomever wasn’t my thing. We could have eloped and I would have been just has happy. I told her, just tell me when and where and I’ll be there.”