Mother of the Groom

wedding2I 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”).

HarrKasi2When 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.

Me&LaineThe day of the wedding, our daughter went to the hair and makeup studio and emerged a stunning bridesmaid. I helped my husband Gary put on his handsome tuxedo jacket.

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.

KateGaryWe were blessed to be surrounded by loved ones—our older son and daughter, son-in-law, granddaughters, sisters, a niece, brother-in-law, and my mother—family who had not been all together in years.

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.

BB4Here 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.


Bucket List

1374220_10152031548311844_1507168159_nNow that the light is slowly returning to the northern hemisphere, I’m able to keep my eyes open for longer periods each day. One of the first things I’ve noticed is the appalling condition of our yard. This is due to long-term neglect, but I prefer to blame it on lack of rain and the demolition efforts of Lucy-puppy. Since I don’t enjoy gardening, I hunker down in my office and entertain myself with things I do enjoy—like updating my Bucket List.

It’s important when writing a Bucket List to include only those items that are within the realm of possibility. For example, don’t write that you want to die with dignity. Only three people will ever accomplish that, and you and I aren’t one of them. This goes along with wanting to avoid dementia or becoming a burden to your kids. Let’s face it, our kids already think we have dementia, and we are a burden to them.

Over time, your Bucket List will change. As you check off what you’ve accomplished, you’ll discover new things. For example, a few years ago my Bucket List looked like this:

Visit Washington DC.

Visit Boston.

Enter a quilt in the Fort Bragg Quilt Show.

Participate in a flash mob.

Participate in a triathlon (actually, this was not on my list, but on that of my friend Kathleen who forced me into the torture of helping her realize it).

Start a blog.

I have since visited Washington DC and Boston.

quiltI didn’t even know I had the desire to enter a quilt in the Fort Bragg Quilt Show until I made two quilts that weren’t horrible and received compliments from long-time quilters. They assured me I wouldn’t be humiliated—so I entered. I didn’t win a prize, but let go of my grudge against the judges after only a few months.

I organized and participated in a flash mob.

triathlonI lived through the triathlon (although while training I sometimes wished for death—with or without dignity—so I could get out of it).

I started a blog.

The items currently on my list:

Get a license to carry a concealed weapon. (Upon hearing this, my husband hid the guns and ammo.)

Find the guns and ammo.

Be a juror on a murder trial.

            Get appointed to the Mendocino County Grand Jury (because I am terribly nosey want to be of public service).

Train Lucy to become Fort Bragg’s first bomb-sniffing dog.

Some consider my current Bucket List to be dark and bordering on violent. They may be right. Perhaps the list is reflective of how I subconsciously feel about the approach of another birthday—one that will propel me into a new decade.

DSC_0014BI tend to get this way—dark and violent—whenever the second digit of my birthday is a 9. Once the number officially becomes a 0, I settle down and stop threatening to hurt people. By the end of this month, my Bucket List might look a whole lot different than it does today.


So tell me, what’s on your Bucket List?