How to Survive a Son’s Wedding with Mascara Intact

Here is my advice:

1. On the day you decide to have children, hit your knees, lift your voice to heaven and beseech . . . spelled capital B E G, exclamation point, exclamation point . . . the Lord for boys. As the mother of the groom, there is a chance that you will have enough physical, mental and emotional energy to survive the weeks before the wedding without melting into a puddle of pooped poverty.

2. Wait until 20 minutes before the rehearsal dinner to paint your toenails with polish that you borrow from your daughter-in-law because the bottle you brought is 20ish years old. Then, when you slide your not-quite-dry toenails into your sandals, the polish will clump up and scrape off. Every time you look at your toes, your mind will be preoccupied with the cussing that you can’t say in front of your new in-laws and you will barely hear the preparations for the following day . . . the day your son becomes a husband.

3. When shopping for a dress to wear to the wedding, choose one that you consider to be . . . 6 . . . 8 . . . 10 . . . oh, let’s say, even 12 inches too-dang short. Then, when placed on the front row of the church . . . in plain sight of God and a dozen or so people 30 years younger than you, your attention will be focused on keeping your legs together and you will almost miss the tears in your little boy’s eyes as he sees his bride for the first time.

4. Buy your dress intending to drop about 10 pounds before the wedding. But then every time you drop one of those little things, reach down and pick it up again with a BBQed rib rack, or a pile of mashed potatoes fried in Crisco, or, my personal favorite, a king-sized snickers bar dipped in peanut butter. Pull on that dress over all those pounds, suck in reeeaaal hard and then hold your breath until the wedding reception is over. That will stop up your tear ducts . . . guaranteed. One lone tear could crack the emotional dam, explode the lungs, release the diaphragm and bust the seams of your dress all over the wedding cake.

With your stomach sucked up into your throat it will be nearly impossible to tell your son how truly, terribly much you love him.

5. When buying shoes for the wedding, pick a pair that are attractive . . . as in, “Cute as a button” . . . and . . . ”Cost a crapload of pretty pennies that you won’t, under any circumstances, tell your husband about”. . . and make sure they are the most uncomfortable things you have ever put on your feet. The blisters on your heels, the cramps in your arches and the pinching toe pain that throbs through your body to make your teeth hurt will distract you from the ache in your heart as you dance with your son . . . the son who now has a wonderful, new woman in his life.

I can tell you, from experience, that if you do these things, you can make it through your son’s wedding tear-free with mascara intact.

However, if at the end of a wedding that turns out to be lovely and touching and a surprising amount of fun, you go to bed without taking a hot bath or drinking a glass of warm milk or downing a bottle and a half of your kids’ dramamine, all these preparations will be in vain. Because, you will lie in bed as your over-stimulated brain races to review the day.

And your tears will run rivers down your face as you thank God for your son’s new family and pray that they will spend a lot of time at your house.


First published August 1, 2012