Here’s to families and celebrations


This may be our annual Bar Mitzvah issue, but my mind is on another life cycle event right now.

This week, I am the proud mother of the groom. By the time some of you read this, the wedding that’s been in the planning for months will be a happy memory. The bride and groom will be married and life – at least my life – will return to some semblance of normalcy.

I know many of you can relate.

Like many young people today, the couple decided to plan and implement the wedding themselves. I have a lot of respect for the job they’ve done. It hasn’t been easy. They both work full time. And the bride was in school during much of the past year as well.

Planning a wedding is like managing a business. There are plenty of financial decisions, timelines to be met, vendors to be hired, hard decisions to be made. But there are plenty of emotional issues, too, involving size, family traditions and even the menu. Each decision is discussed, scrutinized (and maybe criticized by some), discussed again, and, even after it’s finalized, discussed again. The entire process is a good lesson in compromise, balance and mediation.

I can’t imagine my husband and I going through this process for our wedding, more than 30 years ago. We lived thousands of miles away from the wedding venue, and relied on my mother to do the planning. Was it exactly what we wanted? Not necessarily. But we are still happily married and we have the same shared memories that our children will have.

My husband and I have made ourselves available for advice, if asked. But for us, the bride and groom’s planning has been an affirmation of our belief that our grown children should make decisions on their own.

Behind the scenes, I have received some advice.

Mother of the groom? Wear beige.

I want to believe this advice was not really serious, but more than one person offered it, and I read it in several wedding articles. I look terrible in beige. Why would I do that? I chose the high road and asked my daughter-in-law-to-be what color she’d like to see me wear. She gave me a few parameters. I chose a beautiful dark blue.

Another bit of advice: Don’t worry. You won’t have much to do.

Well, in our situation, that hasn’t really been the case. We have a large extended family who all live out of town. In an attempt to take pressure off the bride and groom, we’ve tried to coordinate their comings and goings. I hope we’ve been successful. I’m glad I have unlimited cellphone data.

And, finally, this tidbit: make sure nobody stays with you.

This advice I’ve taken to heart. My house is usually the center of all family activities, with half a dozen relatives staying overnight. Not this time. The person offering this advice was adamant. “You need somewhere to go to be by yourselves.” I imagine I will thank her after the weekend is over.

 As I write this, we are looking forward to a wedding filled with people meaningful to the bridal couple and their families. This is, after all, a time for two families to get to know each other and to celebrate the bride and groom. It’s also an opportunity for my family and my husband’s to get together again – a real treat. They say you don’t just marry your partner, you marry the entire family. I have to agree with that since it is certainly the case in my marriage. And both our families have been loving, supportive and fun.

I hope that the newly married couple will find that both families will come together to bring them support and comfort in the years to come.

We’ll work hard to do our part. Here’s to families and all the good things they can bring to our lives.