Today is my mom’s birthday. I know I promised to start finally telling you all about the wedding and share lots of photos, but that might take a couple days. And really, there is no better way to start the wedding sharing than talking about my mother.
James and I had so much help on this wedding, so many people who sacrificed so much to help us have the perfect day. But there is no person whose effort equals that of my mother. Not only did she work lots of extra days to help pay for it, but she invested herself in so many details. My mom was my companion for all of the shopping, planning, selecting, tasting, tears, joys, etc. She was the one who stood there and cried with me when I found THE DRESS, and who got excited about my plan for using all the old mason jars and antiques (read: old junk) around our house to decorate, and the one who found the caterer. She encouraged me that people really would like chicken almondine — even if it is a potentially scary southern casserole, and that people would want to read a letter from James and me with a description of where our lives are going. She spent hours driving out to the reception site at all hours of the day to analyze where sun would be during the reception, and she and my brother both spent weeks suffering from an attack of chiggers after they weeded the gardens around the park where the reception would be. Did you catch that? She also weeded and planted flowers in the public park where we had the reception. She found “a man” (My mother has all sorts of “men”: hay man, clay man, squirrel trapping man, tree-chopping man, etc. She is like, Queen of the redneck workers.), to give us about a hundred cut tree wedges for free, and when we were missing half of the table clothes the morning of the reception, she got on that phone and made it happen.
Planning a wedding brings everything to the surface, every insecurity, character flaw, old feud, and personal failing. This is why people become the worst version of themselves on their way to having the best day of their lives. And my mom and I did have a couple moments where we had it out, like when I thought she was serious about wanting to put goldfish in bowls on every table. All I could see where visions of dead fish bodies being plucked out and thrown at us while we danced, and what I couldn’t see was her just teasing me. I also battled fears of her wrapping everything – stationary or not – in tulle, though in the end the tulle she wrapped around the pavilion banister did make it look like it was hovering somewhere between reality and dreamland.
This week, I have been drooling over our photos, and I can’t help but feel a little sad that my mom isn’t in more of them. I am not blaming our amazing photographer, I am just recognizing the sad reality that so often, my mom was off working on the next thing to move along my beautiful day. I got to be pampered and bridal, while she worked to make sure that our day would be perfect in every way. And it was, because she made it so, and I won’t ever be able to thank her enough.
Even sadder than that is the fact that in a moment of overwhelming emotional/ heat induced wedding day stress during the reception (read: most fun party ever), I snapped at my mother. Pause so you can all judge me – yes, I deserve it. That is my only real regret from my wedding day. Other than that, it was perfect in every way and the most fun day of my life. As I am reliving it through our photos, I see my mother in all of them. She is in my decision to wear my hair down, to refuse the false eyelashes, to opt for comfy flats over heals, and to rock the sparkly earrings. She is in the flowers we carried and in the decorations that adorned every pew. She is in the food our guests ate, in the design of the programs they read, and in the practicality of the fans they waved. Yes, this wedding was all “James and me” but so much of me is from her, so much of the best of me.
Happy birthday mom, I love you.