Friday, November 4, 2011

What to Say. What to Say.

I was asked to speak at my son's wedding. He asked about 3 weeks before the event. So I laid in bed, night after night, and wrote script after script in my head of what I'd say, how I'd say it, how everyone would laugh and cry, how fabulous I was, and how great I'd look. Then, I wouldn't write it. I wouldn't commit anything to paper because it all sounded wrong. It sounded tinny and insincere. It all sounded wrong, and tinny, and insincere, and I'd put on 3 pounds since I bought my dress for the wedding.

So I did what I always do. Nothing. I avoided thinking about it, and I secretly worried (about the speech, and my growing Buddha-belly--egads!).

But the day of the wedding came, as they inevitably do, and I sat through the service alternately crying and laughing and clenching my butt chakra. Afterwards, with a glass of champagne, a full heart, and a mouthful of cheesecake, I asked him, "Do you still want me to say something?"

"Yes. I do. You are going to say something, aren't you?" He sounded trepidatious, like I might let him down.

"Of course!!" I say, full of conviction and terror. But now what? What now? What was I to say?

There was nothing for it but to write. So I slipped off my shoes, found a quiet spot, and on the back of the wedding program I wrote my speech. Here it is:

What is a mother to say on her son's wedding day? I've thought and struggled to find the words, and as many times as I've put pen to paper, I've tossed it aside--unsatisfied and unsure. So I've decided to do two things: share the wisdom of another and speak from my heart. 

When Jonah told us he was marrying Richelle we were overwhelmed. We were surprised: what should we think? what should we do? what should we say? We didn't know. 

Then we met Richelle--and as a family, fell madly in love. But it was our 7-year old, Bronwyn, that said it best when she said to me, "Mom, you know what I think? I think Jonah is too young to get married, but he sure picked a beautiful, pretty girl to marry." And Bronwyn was right--Jonah picked the most beautiful, pretty girl to marry--inside and out. 

But it's a strange thing seeing your child in love. A strange thing knowing the scraped knees I bandaged when he fell off his bike, the sweet green eyes I dried when he was hurt or overlooked, and the small, cute bum I wiped when he......well.....when he.........are another woman's to care for.

So I stand here feeling strange, proud, emotional, and a little lost--but happy. Happy to know that there is such a woman. Such a Richelle. That she loves my boy, and will love him as long, and longer, than I will.

I love you Jonah--with my heart and soul. And Richelle--you are part of us now. Our big, mad, crazy crowd, and we love you too.

So, to Jonah and Richelle.

In the end, I think I did okay. And it probably helped that most of the audience was Dutch and didn't understand half of it. What I learned was that it doesn't really matter what you say, just that you say it, whether you look like a sausage in your too-tight dress or not.