My daughter’s “small, family” wedding is now 10 days away. It’s amazing how it doesn’t seem to matter how small a wedding is—it still involves the same millions of things that have to be done. I come home from work and work on the wedding. I get up in the morning and work on the wedding. My daughter works on the wedding in the afternoons after she gets home from her job. It’s a wild time.
This means that we are now at the point of checking off the final checklist: pick up the wedding rings, pick up Dad’s tux at the alteration shop (he’s wearing his father’s tux, with a few small adjustments, which will remain nameless), pick up the beer and wine, buy a new memory chip for the camera, put the finishing touches on the plans for the decorations, talk to people about how they can help on the big weekend, work out the logistics for transporting a wedding to the beach, and, finally, write a whole lot of checks. Oh, and get the marriage license! A minor detail!
In the middle of all this, it’s hard to remember what is actually happening. It just feels a lot like a party that we are putting on. So, I have this fear that in the middle of the wedding ceremony, right when I’m being escorted down the aisle as the “mother of the bride”—a title that still seems like it belongs to anyone else but me—all of this will suddenly hit me, and I’ll trip over my new high heels and collapse there in the church, a blubbering (with happiness, mind you!) embarrassing mess—or , a more likely scenario, after all the guests have gone home, and we’ve cleaned up, packed up, and checked off the last item on the list, I will fall into the nearest chair and just sit there, shaking, unable to talk, with drool coming out of my mouth.
I hope that somehow, in the midst of everything, I get a chance to just sit and reflect on this huge step that my first-born is taking. If I were to think about it right now, I would say that I’ve noticed at least three things lately: 1) Weddings serve a very useful purpose of helping you to quickly get to know your new son- (or daughter-) in-law on a deep level—and vice versa—since these big, ritualized events seem to bring out the best (and, occasionally, the worst) in people. I’m happy to say that the whole process has made me love my new son in law in a real, I’ve-been-in-the-trenches-with-you kind of way. I hope he feels the same about me! 2) I have a new appreciation for anyone who has been a mother-of-the-bride. And not because of all the planning or the spending or the worrying—just because of the unexpected emotional rollercoaster that comes with the title. And 3) I am overwhelmed by my daughter, who has, in the process of planning and carrying out a wedding, turned, almost overnight, from a little girl into a grown woman. All I can say is, when she walks down the aisle, her father and I will sit in awe (that is, if we are still functional human beings).