I sat in the front row, Mother of the Groom, and watched our son’s face as his bride Kasi walked down the aisle. I had never seen him so happy. He radiated pure joy. Through tears, I marveled at how we arrived at this place.
If you’re a mother, you know how it is—you give birth to a kid who transforms your life by infusing it with an intensity of love you never thought possible. After a couple of years, he starts bossing you around and this pretty much continues for the next 16 years until you happen upon a socially acceptable way to kick him out of the house—borrow a million dollars and send him to a faraway college. Through it all, you continue to love him, but secretly admit there are times you really don’t like him.
In his mid-twenties, you witness what has been scientifically proven—his brain fully forms. He makes statements such as, “I can see why you freaked out the night my friends and I snuck out of the hotel in San Jose and you searched for us until two in the morning. We were only 15.” You suspect aliens have turned him into a pod person (ala the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”).
When Harrison proposed to Kasi, his dad and I couldn’t have been happier. We christened her the girl of “our” dreams. If we could have arranged a marriage, it would be to this girl. She is loving, charming and energetic, and has encouraged the growth of kindness and generosity in our son.
Once the wedding date was set, I searched online for etiquette on how to behave as Mother of the Groom. Basically, I was advised to buy a nice dress and keep my mouth shut. The mouth would be a challenge, but the dress should be easy. I typed Mother of the Groom Dresses into my search engine.
I was surprised by the number of dresses that bordered on skanky and shook my head in judgement at the type of mother would wear such a thing to her son’s wedding.
I chose a simple frock topped with lace.
As the wedding day approached, Kasi said she’d hired professional aestheticians and asked if I’d like to have my hair and makeup done. I was thrilled. It would be like Project Runway when Tim Gunn says, “Send your models down to hair and makeup.” I relished being painted into a thing of beauty. Then I remembered the day I turned 50 and went to a makeup artist. I hoped she could show me some tricks to look younger. An hour later, I emerged from the salon looking like a 50-year old hooker. I cried all the way home where I immediately washed it off.
I wear my hair so short that my own hairdresser can’t style it. I feared what a 20-something aesthetician would attempt to do. I called Kasi and declined the invitation.
I carefully applied makeup. Did you know there’s this thing called primer, like paint primer, that allows the top coat to go on more smoothly? After watching a YouTube video on how to put makeup on “mature women,” I bought some. I guess it works—I don’t know. I ran a man comb through my hair, sprayed down stray wisps, and put on my non-skanky dress and heels.
After the guests were seated, Gary and I walked down the aisle and took our places in the front row. Harrison stood about five feet in front of us.
Here was the baby I had held close and twirled in my arms as we danced to “More than a Feeling;” the kindergartner who exited his classroom on the first day and exclaimed, “This is the best day of my life!”; the child who interpreted “No” as the start of the negotiation process; the eighth grader who wouldn’t allow me to chaperone a school dance until I paid him twenty bucks; the teenager who loved to cook and would make four-course dinners for his friends; the sports enthusiast who enticed us to share his passion; the boy who made us proud over and over again.
I looked at our little boy, all grown up, and felt the same intensity of love as the day he was born, a feeling so powerful no other existed. I watched his smile, his beaming face, and knew that this was how he felt towards his beautiful bride.
All the years we’d traveled together had led us to this perfect time, this perfect place.