Everyone who is even remotely close to me will already know that my middle son married the “Hot Swedish Chick”, his long-time girlfriend, last year. For our family this was the event of the century. Bigger than William and Kate, but with a MUCH smaller guest list. Months went into the planning: the right dress, the right venue, the right vows, the right wording on the invitations, baker, photographer, caterer, and on and on. For some of the bride’s family, this was to be their first trip to the states and we wanted to make a good impression! You only get one chance at that, right?
As the couple’s only maternal figure on this side of the Atlantic, my professional project manager persona was in full command and part of making a good impression was my own personal makeover. The necessary appointments were arranged for haircut, facial, dress selection and alterations, manicure, pedicure, etc. I find that the older I become the more appointments seem to be needed, but I digress. In the middle of this frenzy, I’m at my favorite nail salon, being attended to by the talented owner and I’m telling the woman EXACTLY how I have determined she is to do my nails. The nail guru looks up and calmly remarks, “You are not the bride.” She can see it didn’t sink in so she repeats, “You are not the bride.” and explains “I know what you need. Let me take care of you.” My brain tries to process this concept and its place in my planning hierarchy. Eureka! No one goes to a wedding to see the mother of the groom. IT’S THE BRIDE’S DAY!!! If I would put myself in the proper pecking order, I could conceivably relax and enjoy the ride.
If that is what she really meant, or if that was just what I needed to hear at the moment, I don’t know. However, as this new paradigm took root, this concept of me not being the gravitational center around which everything revolved, of being able to entrust decisions to others, I felt the most amazing sense of freedom. I am not the bride. I am not the bride! I will play my part with enthusiasm and love and steadfastness and do the very best I can to support. And that’s what I did! (Mostly) It was hectic and, yes, there was some stress, but it was Wonderful! The bride was the bride and I got my head on straight in time to enjoy it.
Letting the bride be the bride saves a lot of energy and frees you to be more productive and less stressed. Sometimes we get used to taking the bride’s role, when actually the supporting role is where we really belong. I am not the bride has become my new creed. When I find myself slipping into that place where I insert myself into the center of things or try to fix someone else’s problem; I stop and think, “I am not the bride. Hallelujah! Let freedom ring!