“A Labor of Love,” Sept. 17, 2018

Weddings are a lot of work, even for a mother of the groom. My soon-to-be daughter-in-law has done a great job of planning. Most of what’s left to do will be done by professionals, or by family or friends who want to help in any way they can.

My daughter will arrange the flowers. My youngest will assemble the arch. His wife will pick up guests at the airport. My husband will play guitar. And the little people (the groom’s niece and nephews, and the bride’s godchildren) will get all dressed up and steal the show.

My job is easy. All I have to do is walk down the aisle on my boy’s arm, and try not to cry a river of mascara.

I also volunteered for a few other tasks. For example, my husband and I plan to host the rehearsal dinner. I briefly considered having it at our home and doing the cooking. Then I came to my senses and called a restaurant. The only hard part was deciding what to serve to a guest list that will include seven kids. I hope the adults like mac ’n’ cheese.

The bride and groom wanted to display photos at the reception of family members they’ve lost over the years. My son had lots of great shots of his dad, but none of my parents. So I said I’d find some for him.

It was easier said than done. My parents divorced when I was 2, and never spoke to each other again. We didn’t make a lot of photos. I finally found two old snapshots I took of each of them a few years before they died. My mother is sitting by a lake watching my children play. I snapped the photo just as she looked at me and laughed. And my dad is sitting on a porch in his overalls, resting his chin on his fist and giving me his slow, sweet, easy grin.

They aren’t great photos, but they look happy. Seeing their smiles made me happy, too. They’d be proud that their grandson, whom they adored, wanted them at his wedding in photos as well as in spirit.

My hardest job for this wedding seemed easy at first. The grandboys (ages 8, 7 and 5) are supposed to wear matching outfits (shirts and pants with suspenders and bow ties) that needed a little touch up with an iron. I vaguely remembered having an iron someplace, so I volunteered to take care of it. Also, Henry’s pants needed hemming, so I said I’d do that, too. How hard could it be? I planned to buy that iron-on tape I used years ago. But I couldn’t find it. So I gave up and starting looking for my sewing box. Luckily, it was hiding in the closet with the iron.

I nearly lost my religion trying to thread a needle. But finally, I started hemming the way my grandmother taught me long ago. Imagine my surprise to see my hands now look like hers.

I was ironing Wiley’s shirt (size 5, white, buttoned-down collar) when suddenly I recalled ironing a similar shirt for my boy, the groom, when he was not much older than Wiley. It made me think of all the joy he has brought to my heart and how happy I am to see him so happy and so in love. I had to stop ironing before I dripped mascara on Wiley’s shirt.

Weddings are a lot of work. So is marriage. But both are labors of love. They celebrate the love that is shared by two people; the love that is poured out on them by family and friends; and all the love that will come from their union to bless them and the world for generations.

Someday I hope to dance at my grandchildren’s weddings. But just in case, I plan to leave a photo (maybe one from my boy’s wedding a few days from now) with a smile on my face that says, “I love you ALL.” All is the most you can love someone. I wish you could see that photo. I might be dripping mascara. But I’ll be grinning like a mule eating briars.

 

Comments

  1. Cheryl Hille says:

    Your columns give me so much joy – as I read this column I too shed a tear – My favorite part of the week is your column and a cup of coffee on Sunday morning! Thank you so much for your words that touch our heart and soul!

  2. Sharon says:

    I hope their marriage lasts as long as ours. We celebrated our Fiftieth in March of this year. There have been lots of tears and loads of sadness as we both lost our parents, but the birth of our daughter and much later our grandson have brought laughs and love that made the sad times bearable. I hope you are getting all settled in to your new/old home.

  3. John and Bonnie Whisler says:

    Hi Sharon, I enjoyed hearing about your family and Josh’s marriage. Actually, I thought of Josh quite a bit lately. We watched the second season of Ozark recently, and although Josh wasn’t in that season, I kept thinking of him and wondering if there would be another flashback. It is so good to hear about this happy day for all of you.

  4. Barb Fisher says:

    Hi Sharon –
    This sweet column this week made me drip mascara too. Please post a picture after the wedding – we’re all waiting!
    Love to you and your special day coming up –
    ~Barb~

  5. C’est La and Ginny says:

    So happy for Josh. Give them our best hugs!

  6. Kate Sciacca says:

    Well I had to laugh out loud when you said you “had an iron somewhere!” When mom and dad lived with us, after dad had his stroke, she brought out the iron and ironing board one afternoon. Our three oldest boys (then 9,6 and 4) stared at the strange contraption and began circling the ironing board and studying the iron. Mom walked in on them, with her basket full of damp and ready shirts, and the boys finally got up the nerve to ask.. “Grandma, what IS that????” With her most incredulous voice she exclaimed, “Why it’s an IRON and IRONING BOARD!!! Haven’t you ever seen one???” “No granny! We haven’t ever seen one!” Next thing I heard was the voice that always got me to straighten up as a kid…. “CATHERINE MARIE!!!” ??

    And congrats on calling a restaurant and letting them do the heavy lifting at the rehearsal dinner… you just sit back and soak it all up ?

  7. Beth Heeren says:

    Hi Sharon, my daughter kaitlin, the one you didn’t meet, is getting married in 33 days! I am finishing her dress, a work of art, I must say. Also, have to finish my dress, her rehearsal dinner dress, hem two bridesmaid dresses, make 9 flower girl wreaths- finish 10 spa robes, 20 table runners, a flower girl basket- make the cake, 100 cupcakes, and arrange the flowers! Don’t even have to ask, I am crazy. Roger is the one performing the ceremony, he will be the one crying! I will be in a wheelchair or the hospital when all is said and done. Yes, we love the groom, and yes, it will all be worth it. I’ll be posting pics on Facebook next month!

  8. Elaine Mccaffery says:

    That is so sweet, what a touching remembrance of the day it will be. My oldest grandson will be getting married next year. I too will be a mess. Not just for the memories , but the happiness and the sadness that goes with the day. His grandfather and I are divorced. So this will be an. Awkward day. I hope their day and yours will be the best ever! Best wishes to the happy couple!

  9. sarah says:

    one more thing – at Remley’s Celebration of Life event, several people spoke and one of them, who insists Remley took credit for his having married his wife, said Remley told him to never believe marriage was 50/50. It was 100/100. And that if you got married thinking you’d change someone, it just wouldn’t happen. Be happy with what you have!

  10. Sarah says:

    Sharon, I hope they are every bit as happy as Remley and I were.
    Best wishes to all of you as you celebrate a very special day.
    Love, Sarah

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