07/31/2013 11:52 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2013

I Miss My Son's Wedding


So, since it's still a problem, why not talk about it? I miss my son's wedding. It's now officially just about August and he got married June 15th, so it really isn't that long. It's just that nobody really prepared me for this, or maybe I just don't mix with people who talk about it. So many people talk, instead, about how tough the planning is, and how it's so much better to have a small wedding and how so many people aren't even getting married anymore.

Obviously, all this depends on where you are, how old the kids are, if they're kids and you know, traditions and religion and such. So in this case my "kid" is 33, his bride the same age and for one it was a wonderful occasion which had its elements of surprise. In preparation I began channeling Barbara Streisand in "Meet the Fockers" and began watching the movie with Lino whenever it came on or was available on demand through Netflix. I threatened to "do" her in my wedding toast, though Lino reminded me that I should keep in mind that many people might be watching this for some years to come and I might decide it would be better to hold back a little, but really, just a little. I did mention Barbara in my toast, but took responsibility for my wanting to call my son "bubelah" out loud, which I did.

It seemed like it would never come -- the wedding, that is. It seemed an empty threat or promise, and the grounds where the wedding took place in Central California looked like a nice place to have the barn that was there, but not much else. Though it was January when we saw it, not June, and not when it was dressed up with tables full of white linens and flowers.

So my son, getting married. A quirky guy, this much he would say about himself, along with other aspects that are very much a part of who he is. Not just a quirky guy but a quirky scientist, a researcher, an academic who questions most of the ways in which other people assume things should be done. So marriage? And to a wonderful "girl" who is not exactly in his realm of psychology, but who has her PhD in developmental psychology, just about my own favorite? So he was going to marry someone I found so easy to like, to trust, and no doubt in my heart, would find easy to love as well. And then, a girl close with her own family, how could that not be a good influence on him? And then, a girl close with a family who only seemed more conservative than us and if they are, well, it will work out wonderfully.

So there was that, and of course, I was the mother of the groom, not the mother of the bride. Who talks that much about this, again, even in terms of what kind of dress you're going to get? If the parents contribute, well, according to some traditions, which at the end of the day seem to hold sway if only in people's memories and habits, it usually falls mostly on the bride's family. So who knew that the process, for the most part and aside from little petty misunderstandings which could have made things rough, but given the players, didn't, would be so very delicious? Not me.

Who knew that I could plan the rehearsal dinner, have fun at it despite a chicken "emergency" when chicken cut in quarters and not eighths disappeared way too soon and even have that part of it be fun. And then a day at a vino therapy spa with the bride, her mom, her cousin and my daughter and me... how nice. And then people coming from out of town.

And then the ceremony, with Lino and I walking down an aisle with our son to the sounds of Magnetic Field's gorgeous, to die-for and cry-inducing song, "Book of Love." And looking at his bride with her dad as I looked at her mom and we all got up. And the toasts, and the dancing and the ceremony they had written with Jon as the officiator, and with rings no less! My son got married!

When, a week later, I went to speak at a spa in Mexico and I said, "I miss my son's wedding" and a few times after that, the person listening looked alarmed, "What, you missed your son's wedding?" I realize missing a son's wedding in retrospect is not such a common or talked-about phenomenon, so that "miss" could easily enough get confused with "missed," as in past tense. So, I tried to talk about it only with people who would understand, the number one and two people being the bride's mom and Lino. And to my son and his wife, how many times do you want to repeat this when they have moved beyond that to the joys of a honeymoon and to creating space for their presents and of course the pictures, but not in the morbid way in which this thing was threatening to take me over.

I'm getting better, as it turns out, just saying. People recover even from this. But I think we should talk about this stuff more, because my good friend who just had her son's engagement party at her home was telling me she cried after it was over.

A baby boomer's indulgence, are you even thinking that? I tell you, and I promise you from all I know, it's got nothing to do with that. It's part of love and of loss, which creep into just about everything life has to offer -- even the best of times.

I don't say I'm completely over it, but I know life doesn't stop here. To the levels of closeness to come, then, and to having a daughter-in law!