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I am going to ask Ashley to marry me,” Spencer said in March. I wasn’t surprised. They had been dating for over a year and I had seen the evolution of their feelings.
He then proceeded to tell me about this awesome ring he was having made for her and he was planning to propose in June when we went on a vacation to Jamaica.
But in early April, he sent me a picture of the new ring and I knew he wouldn’t hold out until June. I was right. A week later in a romantic setting (on a golf course) he popped the question and within minutes, I received a text with a picture of her hand showing off the ring. “She said yes!” My youngest son wrote.
He graduated college in May; she had another year so I knew this would be a long engagement. I was wrong. Within weeks, they’d set a date and began the never-ending planning that accompanies a formal wedding.
In the summer, we vacationed together and while Tom and Spencer were on a lengthy snorkeling excursion, Ashley and I spent hours in the infinity pool talking. About everything. Both my mothers-in-law would have been appalled. I was thrilled.
Spencer and I also had a talk about love, marriage, forever. I asked questions and listened. I didn’t meddle or offer advice.
The planning continued. As the groom’s mother, I just had to buy a dress and show up.
Two weeks ago they asked me to choose the song for the mother-son dance. It took a while but I found the perfect one (because I cried when I read the words) and last weekend I made the trip to Georgia for the festivities, crying intermittently during the seven hour drive.
I met them for dinner Thursday night. It was time to talk and share before the chaos began.
In their cute little new home, I told Ashley that it’s not just fathers who give away daughters; mothers also cede over their sons.
“I was the first woman he said I love you to,” I told her. “I was the first woman in his life for many years and now that’s changed as I hand him over to you for loving, protecting, cherishing.”
My talk with Spencer was more involved, more detailed, more personal–and I cried quietly through it all.
At the end, we embraced for a very long time, whispering quiet words of love and I went to bed that night knowing my little boy–now a man–was the happiest I’d ever seen him.
At the rehearsal dinner, after the attendants’ gifts were distributed, he called Ashley’s mom and me front and center. “Without our mothers,” he said, “we wouldn’t be here.” And then they presented us gifts. I have no idea what she got because I was blubbering as I opened mine–a frame with a picture of them and then two pictures of Spencer when he was five or six. In his handwriting he wrote, “Today a groom. Tomorrow a husband. Always a son.” And then we embraced again.
The day of the wedding arrived and it dawned on me I had cried for five consecutive days.
When I arrived at the venue, I scouted out my boy and he was beaming. I couldn’t help but mist over again, but I too beamed. Throughout the afternoon we exchanged smiles, soft touches, an occasional hug.
As the ceremony started, the minister announced that Spencer and Ashley wanted to honor their mothers and asked that we stand while Ashley entered. Everyone else was to remain seated. The three most important women in his life were in the spotlight.
The wedding was elegant. Everyone was grinning but Spencer–he was radiant. Now I know that’s supposed to be a word to describe the bride, but my son glowed. He was so happy and anyone could tell that this was love and it was real.
I cried gently because both he and my older son, Nick, kept admonishing me to not break down–and I didn’t.
During our dance, “A Mother’s Song” by T Carter, we smiled for the videographer and made pleasant chit chat sprinkled with words about love and happiness.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said to me near the end of the dance. “I’ll always be here. I’ll always be your son.”
As the last refrain began, I spoke the words to him as the vocalist sang. It was almost as if I had written them myself.
“Be faithful and be true
Show love in all you do
Then you'll know, just how
You make your mother proud
You've made your mother so proud...”