It was a sweet and simple ceremony.
Perhaps it was the beauty of the day with its cool pre-summer breeze and sunny afternoon , but most likely it was the picking of the pretty yellow flowers in the backyard that prompted the sudden proposal. “Mom, let’s get married,” he said holding the big bunch of yellow beauties. A few days before, I had noticed the shock of yellow in the corner of our backyard that we refer to as “the swamp”. I knew it was some kind of weed, but I had no idea the magnitude of it until I was right up on it. It grew high and had coiled, thick, purplish vines with the sweetest little yellow flowers with orange centers. I had asked Riley about coming with me to cut the flowers and he happily agreed. We grabbed a scissors from the kitchen and meandered our way to the swamp avoiding doggy land mines to reach the mammoth weed. He didn’t know, nor did he care what it was, he was just as enamored with the yellow flowers as I was. And, I suppose, that is was prompted his desire to wed. So, there it was, actually the third proposal of my life (but that’s another whole story!) and I thought, do I decline? Should I let him know that typically moms do not marry their sons? Or that the Department of Social Services could be called if word got out? Or at the very least, what will the neighbors say?! Instead, I shrugged my shoulder and replied, “Sure, why not.”
Just as any smitten bachelor, he was elated with my response. We walked hand in hand carefully back through the yard (doggy doo would NOT be the scent you want to remember on your wedding day) and went inside. With my allergies being what they are, an inside wedding was definitely preferable. With such an impromptu ceremony we had to do some improvising, so for music I hummed what I thought at first was the wedding march, but turned more into The Newlywed Show theme song. Riley didn’t notice. He was too busy holding the big bouquet of yellow flowers as he held my hand and we marched around the upstairs.
This bridal procession lasted only a few minutes as we circled in and out of my two teenagers’ rooms. There were groans and sounds of disgust. The 16 year old in his judgmental tone said “You’ve GOT to be kidding me,” and my 13 year old girl just rolled her eyes and said, “Mom, that is SO gross”. But Riley and I were undeterred. No one was going to spoil our wedding day even if family didn’t approve (hmmm… seems I’ve said that before in my previous ceremonies).
We stopped in his room where we stood together and I further improvised having to perform the nuptials myself. “Do you Maureen, take this boy Riley to be your son, to have and to hold, to love and cherish all the days of your life?” “I do,” I answered. “Do you Riley take this woman to be your mom for the rest of your life, to love, honor and obey?” Riley hesitated, as I’m sure his nerves got the best of him, as it happens in many marriage ceremonies. So, after a small nudge, he finally repeated the words “I Do.” He had warned me earlier right before the ceremony that we would have to kiss and so this was the moment. I stated, “Then you may kiss the bride.” On cue, Riley handed me the bunch of flowers as he puckered up. A quick peck and the ceremony was over. Against the backdrop of Spiderman and Lightening McQueen, I married my four year old son.
As I reflected on the ceremony later in the evening, I realize there are a few lessons here:
First, weeds can be beautiful. I’ve always loved dandelions and used to get very upset with my dad when he would mow them down. He would grumble about the lawn, but I thought ours was the most beautiful on the block – no one had as many pretty yellow flowers as we did. And if he let the lawn go, I was lucky enough to have my share of wishmakers to just dream away and ask for all the things I ever wanted. What could be better?
Next, there is the ever-so-sweet innocence of a four year old in love with his mother (as contrasted by the teenagers – more on that later). How could I say no to his proposal? He’s in love with me and I’m going to savor every moment while it lasts. Because it won’t be long before holding my hand will not be cool, and kissing his mom will be an obligation, and picking flowers with his mom will be so lame. Until that happens, I will marry him every day if he asks.
And lastly, there is the opportunity to disgust your teenage children. Why is there such pleasure in that? I haven’t quite figured that out, but I do know that all of their disdain is just show. And I know deep down there is security in knowing that your mom can be playful and have fun and most importantly, to love that much. I think it reassures them to know that they were once loved that much when they were four and that same love never goes away. It changes as they change and alter their way of receiving it, but that it is always there. And it reminds them that there is life after puberty and just maybe they can one day be uninhibited and not socially paralyzed by what their peers or any possible onlooker might think of them. I sure hope so anyway.
So, my suggestion is to stop and smell the weeds and marry your children when the opportunity arises. There’s one marriage you’ll never regret (refer to earlier proposal comment). But that’s another story….
Maureen Day is the founder of “Heaven Born” (www.heavenborn.com), a non-profit project where books and hand-made pillows are given to women who have suffered an early pregnancy loss. The simple book gives information on handling the emotional challenges an empty-armed mom will face and the pillow provides a tangible source of comfort. Our mission: Comfort Moms, Honor Babies.
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