…and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradictedb(and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35
“If she was the groom’s mother she wore beige and kept her mouth shut.” Erma Bombeck
This summer, my oldest son got married and I was officially the mother of the groom. It was a time filled with joy, happiness and pride, but there was also a wee bit of sorrow. My little boy was now officially a married man. I would never again be the main woman in his life, his first confidant or even his biggest supporter. For me, in some ways, the entire pre-wedding experience was very much like what the Blessed Mother experienced at the presentation of Jesus in the temple – a joyful time with a tinge of pain and a little anguish. The trick for me was trying to follow Mary’s example by starting my new life as the mom of a married son with graciousness and love.
This was a little tougher than it looked.
The thing about being the mother-of-the groom is that you don’t really quite fit in. You’re not the bride’s mom, so hanging with the bride doesn’t feel 100% appropriate, especially if she has her own mom there. Weddings are sort of a feminine affair after all. The colors, the dresses, the decorations, and the flowers – those are all things to be decided and fussed over by the bride and her family – not really the province of the bridegroom’s matron.
But the things my son and his groomsmen were doing didn’t include me really, because they were “guy things.” My son told me that he and his bridal party needed the time to “bond” more and that they couldn’t really be themselves if I attended the festivities too. Don’t get me wrong – my new daughter-in-law and her mom were wonderful and they were always very gracious and welcoming towards me – I love them and I have no complaints there.
It’s just that…it was my boy that was getting married. The kid I had birthed and nursed, and nurtured and taught and worried over – yet somehow after all of that, I just didn’t fit in … THERE, experiencing this WITH him – at least as far as all things “wedding” were concerned. Where is the mother of the groom during the bachelor parties, the tuxedos and other guy get togethers? Nowhere. Maybe this is a practical example of what the scriptures say, “A man shall leave his father and his mother …” but I definitely was feeling left alone, left out and left behind.
Why is it that the mother-of-the-groom’s role in the wedding leaves so little time to actually be with the groom?
There were ways for me to be involved in the wedding process. There were homemade centerpieces for the reception, and I worked with my daughters on those at home for weeks. The girls and I went to the bridal shower and to the special bridal tea. I picked up the bridesmaid dresses for my daughters and took my youngest son to get measured for a tux. My husband and I also hosted the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding.
Perhaps the most meaningful pre-wedding activity for me was choosing the gray dress I bought to match the groom and the groomsmen. My son is a big gun enthusiast, so I was tickled to see that my dress color was called “gunmetal gray.” It made me feel somewhat like Lady Montague, a true matriarch!
But none of these things gave me extra time with my son.
A few days before the wedding, my son told me that I would get my quality time with him at the mother-son dance during the reception, and that I would get to pick the song. Here was my chance to get two minutes or more, alone, with my son, on his wedding day.
I scoured the internet for possible songs, and finally found one that seemed to say exactly what I was feeling and what I wanted him to always remember.
As we danced, the joy, the tears, the fights, pride and consolations flooded my mind and my emotions. I wanted it to hang on and linger so that I could remember this as one of the key moments in my life. So just before the last notes, I kissed my son, just as I had most of his life, trying to remember the feeling of it all and knowing that it probably wouldn’t really all sink in until much later.
I did what I set out to do. I had raised a strong independent man who had the ability to love and cherish his new wife and start a family with her. I knew that Mary, the Blessed Mother would empathize with the sting in my eyes and the lump in my throat. But I put a big smile on my face and followed Erma Bombeck’s advice, and just kept all of that to myself.
Copyright 2015 Elena LaVictoire
Photo courtesy of Elena LaVictoire. All rights reserved.