05/13/2016 07:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When The Mother Of The Groom Just Can't Keep Her Mouth Shut


My youngest son -- the baby in our family -- got married last weekend. Was I ready? Is any mother ever ready?
  • My speech (Keep it short, Mom, I am warned) was written.
  • My dress (Don't go too fancy, Mom) had been altered.
  • My hair (Please don't go for the wild, curly look, Mom) had been colored and cut.
  • My photo list (Mom, go easy on the amount of pictures you are requesting we take) was submitted. Along with who sits with whom.

All was ready, except me. I was not ready to let go -- to give this son to another woman and to share him with so many.

So here's some advice I gave myself:
  • Buck up, Iris -- it's not about you.
  • Don't personalize casual remarks.
  • Don't let your own insecurities mar the moment.
  • Remember that you are loved as much as ever, even though you may not be needed as much as before.
  • Let him go with grace and hope he comes back with vigor.
  • Embrace his bride and hope she meets you halfway.
  • Don't compare. Stay off Facebook.
  • And practice the arts of mindfulness and gratitude.

And here was the message to my son, the groom, the night before his wedding -- from me, the mother of the groom:

Louie. Louie. Louie. My last born. My baby. The youngest of my five sons. You started out unique -- being born during a total solar eclipse -- hence the name Eclipse Louie. And for those unscientific types -- most of our family at least -- here is a lesson in science. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the earth and the sun -- and blocks it. The only thing that can be seen is a circular band of bright light around the sun. And Lou, for all of us, you are and always have been a great source of bright light in our lives. Two words come to mind to describe you: Symmetry and Balance. Symmetry because never had I seen a face whose features were so perfectly aligned at birth than yours. Unfortunately that didn't last long. With your characteristic total disregard for your body, you broke your gorgeous nose (with the aid of a few friends and baseball, basketball and soccer) not once, but four times, before graduating high school. So much for symmetry. You also had and have an exquisite sense of balance. School work during the week and plenty of fun and frolicking on the weekends. As an adult, working hard and playing hard too. Your sense of balance has also contributed to you being referred to as "the daughter mom never had." Why? Because you give the best hugs, still confide in me on occasion and always are quick to tell me you love me. However, you balance this out with being upfront and honest with me when I am in the wrong or being illogical or irrational -- which, of course, I rarely am. You are close to mama, but not a mama's boy. How could you be with four brothers constantly pushing you to "man up"? This weekend marks a milestone. You joined with another in matrimony and by extension -- her family too. Joia is thoughtful, kind, low-key, family oriented not just to her own family but ours as well, and beautiful on the inside and out. And her family, since the moment we met them, have gone out of their way to make us comfortable and welcome. Milestones call for advice. Though my days of active parenting are past, here's a bit of wisdom I'd like to pass on to you. Louie, remember: Happy wife. Happy life. And to Louie and Joia:
  • May you have much joy in the coming years of marriage,
  • May you have the strength to endure any sorrows that cross your path
  • And may you both be blessed with a son as fine as the one I gave birth to during the solar eclipse, 32 years ago this month.

If you want more information about Iris's forthcoming book Tales of a Bulimic Baby Boomer, or to sign up for her weekly newsletter, visit or follow her on Twitter @IrisRuthPastor.

You can find more from Iris on LinkedIn.

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