Reflections of an MOB (Mother of the Bride):
Through the kitchen window, I spied my husband taking his place across the ping pong table from our daughter's Mr. Wonderful. Paddles in hand, they appeared poised for action. But a few minutes later, they were nowhere to be seen. So I peeked through the laundry room blinds, of course. (Twenty-two years spent developing my motherly instincts told me this was a snooping occasion.) This time, I was surprised to see the two of them now leaning against the garden gate, deep in discussion. The one with grey, receding hair, who I knew like the back of my hand, held a calm demeanor that I recognized as forced; the younger one, with a full head of sandy hair, appeared fidgety.
And that's when I knew there was to be a wedding in our near future.
It turned out the men were indeed having "the talk." Not that the two lovebirds in question needed our permission to wed. Nevertheless, Mr. Wonderful scored big points for being willing to go through the motions. Thankfully, our daughter had primed the pump, confiding a few days earlier that they were using the "m" word and looking at rings together.
These major life transitions must be handled with care.
He popped the question in the fall, down on one knee, in a garden, surrounded by roses. But not before his younger siblings, dressed in their Sunday best, served the couple an elegant lunch, tablecloth and all. Meanwhile, a friend of theirs, disguised as a tree in one of those leafy, ghillie camo suits, perched covertly on a nearby roof with a camera.
We had to hand it to him. Mr. Wonderful earned extra points for style, and one smitten fianceé.
Those first weeks following the happy news were giddy and surreal, I might add, laced with moments of utter disbelief. Sounds cliché, but it truly seems like just yesterday we moved her onto the college campus. Come to think of it, just yesterday she was an exuberant 4-year-old, pulling various costumes out of a dress-up trunk: a princess, a doctor ... a bride.
Although she had marched off to a university ready to change the world, it didn't shock me that, like most girls, she also entertained dreams of marriage. What surprised me were two things. First, it happened so fast. And second, I had a few dreams of my own surrounding the big event. Apparently, my own subconscious hopes had taken root way back before she ever first garbed herself in white lacey things from the dress-up trunk.
More than anything, I wanted to shop for her wedding dress with her. And I wanted us, her parents, to pay for it, even if we had to sell the farm (or, in our case, buy a farm, raise chickens and sell cage-free eggs on the side of a dusty road for the next 20 years). The full force of this expectation siezed me one morning when I awoke, heartbroken, from a nightmare in which my daughter had gone without me to pick out her dress. Phew. It was only a dream.
As I contemplated my new status as the MOB (Mother of the Bride), questions stirred. Which wedding traditions would be important to our daughter and future son-in-law? What does a wedding cost these days anyway? Our financial resumé was patchy at best. Since the economic downturn, my husband and I had been collecting part-time jobs like some people collect salt-and-pepper shakers, and he'd returned to school as well. What could we realistically contribute to make our daughter's day a dream-come-true?
And then there was the most pressing question of all: What would I wear?
• Click here to visit our directory of Wedding Dress Retailer.