“Everybody will follow your lead.”
This was just another to-do on a long list of items I felt under qualified to perform. I’d never done this before and now I was expected to lead others while administering tasks with zero training?
“What are you talking about?” – I replied in response to the information I had just been given. My daughter and her bridesmaids and the groom and his groomsman were standing at the front of the beautiful outdoor chapel. We had created it with classic white lawn chairs that overlooked a small pond lined with tall pine and walnut trees at a wedding venue tucked away in a small town in Michigan. My husband Tom was leading the wedding rehearsal and had been the one to share my most important job of the day. It was one of many jobs I would do on the wedding day as the mother of the bride… including delegating decorating tasks, picking up the brides flowers, applying makeup to both daughters ( one being the bride) , stopping at the printer for copies of the words to a last minute add on worship song, and going over details with the wedding planner.
I discovered on the eve of the wedding that it was my job to lead the guests in “standing”during the following days ceremony. It is the moment after all the bridal party has processed to the front of the congregation, the music changes and the bride makes her entrance. It is at that moment that the mother of the bride stands and turns towards the bride and her father indicating the rest of the group should do so as well. I have no idea where or why this tradition started – but if there is anyone that should do the job -its the mother of the bride. She’s got the best seat in the house.
The Mother of the Bride or MOB has reserved seating at the front left of the congregation when facing the bride and groom. In our case the seat was literally feet away from where the bride and groom would pledge their love and faithfulness till death do them part. I could have reached out and touched the gorgeous horse hair lined trim of her tule dress. Three little steps and I could have wrapped my beautiful daughter in my arms for one last hug before she went from Miss to Mrs., from Lange family of 5 to Smith family of 2. Never have I felt so close and yet so far from my sweet, amazing, kind, over the moon in love with her man- first born. Yes indeed – the best seat in the house.
It may be a little early to be writing a blog about the wedding of my daughter. To be completely honest I’m smack in the middle of “processing.” I am incredibly thankful for a tribe of moms that have walked this road before and assure me the tears I have shed post wedding in my shower, in the car while driving home from the wedding and while texting them late at night, are totally normal. I am chalking it up to lack of sleep, hormones and a crazy schedule but I’m thinking its more than that. Here is my attempt to make a bit of sense to all that is swirling around in my brain.
I am realizing that the wedding was not the first time I’ve had the “best seat” in the house when it comes to viewing the life of my child. From the moment the pee stick showed 2 lines on the view window of the pregnancy text – I slipped into said ” Best Seat.” I felt the first flutters that felt like butterfly wings and loving friends said – ‘Thats your baby.’ To the kicks, the squirms, the smashed bladder – I felt and saw it all. I saw her enter the world. I saw her at every night feeding. I worked hard to comfort each cry, understand each need. I heard her speak her first word, saw her take her first steps. I had the Best Seat when sleep was sparse and cries were long. When the seat was a place in the hallway outside her room on the nights she was learning to stay in her new found freedom called “twin bed.” When the seat was the place of discipline and tough love. When the seat provided arms for comfort in disappointment. When the seat was one of celebration and one of laughter . When the seats were park benches, gym bleachers, auditorium seats, dorm floors, apartment air mattresses, RV bunks, tent sleeping bags, Hospital waiting rooms and doctors offices. When seats were couches connected by face time, or hearts connected by text messages. It seems only natural that my seat on the day of her wedding would be… the best.
Over the 48 hours of the wedding weekend I continued to enjoy the view from my Best Seat. A shopping trip for reception supplies, manicures, shared cake eating in the parking lot of Meijer and a tear filled hug on the night of the rehearsal. I had a front row seat to her hair appointment and was honored when she asked me to apply her wedding make up. The Best Seat has provided clear vision to a life time of moments that I will never forget. How blessed I am.
As I sat in that MOB seat last Saturday I worked hard to take it all in. I intentionally left my phone in the house forcing myself to take mental snap shots of every beautiful moment. I wanted to pay attention to the breeze that swept through the trees and the words sung by the bride and grooms dear friends, Andrew and Anna. I wanted to hear every word of the vows Allie and Aaron had written for each other. I wanted to soak in the message Tom had lovingly prepared for the couple and the rest of the guests. I wanted to be aware of my mother in law and my own parents sitting to my left. I wanted to feel their emotions and mix them with my own. I wanted to get every pennies worth of that very special place of honor, the Best Seat in the House. I wanted to because deep down I knew that after this day It was time to give it to another.
Mother hood. An invitation to both enjoy the Best Seat in the house and to prepare it for someone else. During my life as a mom one of the most important roles I knew I had to play was one of a visionary for my children. I believe in the power of the spoken word and the beliefs they represent. From the time our children were young Tom and I spoke the vision and our prayer for our children’s future spouses. We told them that the 2 most important qualities of a future spouse is that they love God first and love and honor them second. We knew that the seats we held would need to be taken by someone that would love our children deeply with a sacrificial love that only comes first from a personal relationship with our Savior Jesus. We were serious about the role we played in the seats we had been given as parents and we expected nothing less from those that would come behind us. Saturday was so incredibly sweet and powerful because I knew that when I walked out of that outdoor chapel ,my seat- the Best Seat, was perfectly filled with the one we had prayed for before we even knew his name.
As Allie and Aaron begin their lives together -I will still be watching from my seat – albeit a new one. The seat that can enjoy the fruit of years of prayers and sacrifice. The seat that will still involve prayer and love. The seat that will continually point them to the God who wove our lives together in the first place. Thank you Jesus for the gift of the Best Seat. Thank you Jesus for the seats we ultimately have with you because of the price you paid on our behalf by your death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. They are so very good.