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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

MOB vs. MOG

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal

This is my first go around as Mother of the Bride and itís been fine so far. Weíve got the gown, got the favors, lined up the photographer, talked to the wedding coordinator at the church. Yesterday we lucked onto just what we were needing for reception hall decorations AND we found the perfect, crazy, gorgeous pair of bridal shoes. Gone are the days when a bride was restricted to white satin and seed pearls. The thing now, so I hear, is for the bride to express her quirky side through her shoe selection. Cinderella herself could not top the shoes Bride chose yesterday. Gorgeous!

The wedding angels are watching over us, because we keep finding just what we need on sale and readily available. Things are going exceptionally well, I think, for now. Although we both lapsed into some craziness yesterday when we found a store with a huge array of really beautiful fake birds. I donít know what came over us but we began to feed off each otherís enthusiasm ("Look at this one, and this one and, oh my goodness, isnít this the cutest fake bird you ever saw?") and we soon had a cart filled with birds in every shape, size and color. We began to wander the rest of the store aimlessly in a kind of daze. The reception hall was in danger of become one huge technicolor aviary when Father of the Bride happened to call. The sound of his voice was like a tether to the world of better-than-fake-birds-decorating-sense. "Mike," I asked, "do you think fake birds would be pretty for the reception hall?"

He laughed. Not very hard and not for very long, but just enough to wake me from whatever world of birdie madness I had slipped into. He obviously thought I was joking. Iíve said ridiculous things before in all seriousness, and then played it off as a joke and thatís what I did then. When I got off the phone I looked at Bride over the shopping cart brimming with Love Doves, Bluebirds of Happiness, and Purple Passion Ptarmigans. She looked into the cart, put her hands to her cheeks and asked, "What the heck were we thinking?"

It was a close call, but we came to our senses and abandoned the birds. I am sure there will be other lapses in judgement, but hopefully we will catch each other before things get out of hand.

Itís just that there are so many details to think of and plan for and provide. When they call it the "wedding industry" they are absolutely right! Itís big business. Just thinking about how many other people are involved makes me feel a little dizzy. Bakers and florists and hair-fixers and make-up daubers and seamstresses and underwear experts and travel agents and caterers and cantors and organists and oh my goodness! It is very nearly overwhelming. Though I refuse to give into the urge to just throw my hands up and call it done. Everything will be fine. I can tough it out. Father of the Groom is fond of asking, when faced with a big undertaking, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." And this wedding, though modest by some standards, feels like an elephant to me.

I was making appointments the other day when it occurred to me to wonder what does the Mother of the Groom do? Is she sitting at home in the afternoons, while Bride and I spend hours debating the merits of shiny tulle versus, er, not shiny tulle, her freshly pedicured feet up and a good book in her lap, listening to Vivaldi and nibbling on Bridge Mix? Does she even know what agonies of decision making we are going through? Would she laugh if she knew? When the wedding is over will she call her sister-in-law and ask, "What were they thinking? I canít even imagine! It looked like they just slapped it all together! Itís not like they didnít have an entire year to get ready."

I sigh. I sigh and for what feels like the ten thousandth time, open the phone book. Some day I will be the MOG instead of the MOB. All I will have to worry about is my own gown and what depredations of decorating the MOB and Bride are conspiring for the reception hall. I can only hope that my sons choose their future wives well and wisely. I can only hope they choose brides with organized, detail oriented mothers. I can only hope, hope against hope, that my sons have the good sense to fall in love with girls who are kind and good and true. And, above and beyond everything else, girls who like a good "Chicken Polka." Yes. I am still on about that.

© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
September 24, 2009 Column

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