Well, the wedding has come and gone. Phew!
Don’t mistake this look for serenity.
This seems like a good time to give you an insightful glimpse into the mind of the MOB (which is what they call you for a about a year before the event in which you will be the “Mother of the Bride”.)
For some of you, it may be helpful to learn about what happens in the mind of the MOB as the big day approaches; after all, a lot of you will be a MOB yourself before too long!
For others, this post may help you to cope when your own wife/mother/sister/friend becomes a MOB.
And the rest of you will probably just laugh and think, “Thank God this will never happen to me because a) I am a man; b) I am never ever ever planning to have a kid; c) I am an old lady raising cats who now feels a lot better about my life choices.”
The pressures on the MOB before the wedding cannot possibly be overstated. This is especially true if the bride is a mature, independent, capable young woman who doesn’t need or want you to do much. At first this will seem like a blessing, but as the wedding day gets closer and closer, you will begin to wish that you had been included in every single tiny detail.
You see, the week before the wedding, people will start to ask you a lot of questions that you can’t answer, so you immediately go into a panic. Kind of like this:
“What are the groomsmen wearing?” “Um…..pants?”
“What time will the caterer arrive?” “Not sure. In time to cook!”
“Where should we put all the wine?” “Ah…I…um…just leave it with me.”
You’ll also start waking up in the middle of the night (as the day gets closer, the wake-ups happen more often. By the night before the rehearsal, you’ll wake up every 14 seconds). You will be jolted out of sleep by burning questions like, “What if a sudden tornado blows through and everyone is lifted up and dropped over Kansas?” and “What if I fall off the dance floor?!!” In the brief periods where you do sleep, you will be overwhelmed by nightmares featuring giant black bears invading the wedding venue, drunken Uncles brawling on the porch, and suddenly realizing that you are on the dance floor stark naked.
What this all means, of course, is that by the time everyone you know and love appears in a giant throng to take endless pictures of you, will look like a refugee from a war zone. The bags under your eyes will be bigger than the big white wedding tent. Your hands will shake, and the golden tan that you so carefully worked on last week will have faded to the color of pasty oatmeal. This is the image that you will have of yourself:
The internal MOB.
In spite of all the stress, though, the big day will eventually come. You’ll carefully pack every single item that you or the bride could possibly want or need, and head off for the weekend. You’ll arrive at the hotel that you chose months ago, only to find that there are no more “non-smoking rooms” available, and that you and your kids are booked into “rooms-so-filled-with-smoke-that-we-offer-free-asthma-inhalers”. You’ll do your best to put a positive spin on the situation, telling yourself that it will be awesome to sound like Lauren Bacall at your daughter’s wedding, and ignoring the fact that you will smell like Humphrey Bogart at your daughter’s wedding.
You’ll go to the rehearsal with your family and the wedding party, where (if you are half as lucky as we were) the wonderful minister will manage to keep everyone under control long enough to do a run through of the event before they dive into the Irish Whiskey. You and the MOG (figure it out, people) will gulp your wine and compare notes on your respective neuroses. You’ll try to figure out if its a good thing or a bad thing that you’re both having nightmares about black bears. You’ll reassure each other a thousand times that “everything will be fine!”
And then the wedding day will dawn. You’ll drink four gallons of water because your throat is so dry from nerves. But you will immediately realize that you’ll have to pee 700 times before the ceremony. You are a middle aged woman. This can be a problem. This fact will make you more nervous, meaning you’ll need more water. You will wonder when you can switch to wine.
You’ll take the kids out to breakfast at a cute little diner where everyone moves at roughly the speed of a melting glacier. Your face will smile and chat with the family, but your brain will run a constant loop of reminders: “flowers, basket for flower girl, petals for basket, gift for the bride, make-up, computer for the music, deodorant, green tablecloth….flowers, basket for flower girl….”
Even though you know that you have brought every single thing you could possibly need for the celebration, the bride will text you to ask you to stop for hairpins and cold cuts. You’ll be happy to have something constructive to do as the clock inexorably ticks down toward the ceremony, but you’ll have a mini-panic attack when you realize that you’re in a far off land where you don’t exactly how to find a grocery store or a CVS. Lucky for you, the young people at the table know how to use an iPhone, and you’ll plan out your route.
At last, at last, the time will come for you to rush frantically back to the hotel to get dressed and ready. This is a day that you have dreamed of for years. Your emotions are on high. You and the FOB keep looking at each other with sappy grins. The two of you share memories of the cute little girls who once played “brides” together on your lawn, and who will now fulfill the roles of Bridesmaids, Maid of Honor and (gulp) Bride. Your nerves begin to settle, and you are filled with love and appreciation for the wonderful privilege of seeing your daughter married to a man who loves her to distraction.
You will step into the shower, humming the song that will always make you think of your baby girl and how intensely you will always love her.
Then you’ll step out of the shower and think to yourself, “What kind of freakin’ idiot thought it was a good idea to put a full size mirror opposite the shower?”
Just remember, no one has ever said, “It was a great wedding, except for that scab on the MOB’s elbow.” You and the MOG were right; everything will in fact be fine. Everyone will smile, and hug and wipe away tears as the truly happy couple exchanges vows. You’ll dance and sing together, you’ll toast each other, you’ll introduce your friends to your family. It will be incredible.
And at the end of the night, your beautiful daughter will kiss you and thank you and say, “Mom, this was so perfect! Thank you!”