Monday, July 11, 2016

5 Things I Learned About Being a MOG (Mother-of-the-Groom)

As Jaime updated you all, two weeks ago my son got married!
She promised a blog post, so here it is.

Our son was the first of our children to get married, so this has been uncharted territory.
Each phase and stage of family life and parenting has it's joys and challenges that have pushed me to grow beyond my imagination. For this season of letting go and emptying out, I'm finding new revelations as I navigate these waters of change. A few things stand out as I survey the days I'm in right now:

1.  I've never been here before.  I know what it's like to be a girl planning her own wedding--I did that once. But I've never before watched a son get engaged and married. I was also the first to get married and wasn't around to witness my own brother's transition, and if I had been I'm certain I wouldn't have been thinking that I should take notes for future reference. So I started asking my friends what is actually required of the groom's parents, and does anyone even adhere to such traditional etiquette rules? One oft repeated rule I kept in mind as it was quoted to me: "just pay up, put up, dress up, shut up, and show up." In other words, if you've truly given your blessing to this union, don't take it back again by overstepping or disapproving the small things.

2. MOG's need people. My friends and coworkers commented many times how busy and stressed I must feel getting ready for a wedding. Well, it's odd, but there's really not a ton for the mother-of-the-groom to do when she lives over an hour away from the bride. The bride is often employing her mother, sisters, cousins, and bridal party, but not always the MOG. Clue: first-time MOG's really don't know they need their "people". I didn't know. That was--until one day a small box arrived in the mail marked "#1 of 2"--it held foot-soaking salts from a writing-sister. The following day a larger box arrived packed from other writing sisters marked: "MOG survival kit"--a selfie-stick, coffee, tissues, a journal, and CHOCOLATE. I felt the love of my sisters far away, though close in spirit, as they thought and prayed over my transition. The third day, I tripped and fell down two steps and nearly broke my foot. Laying on the floor, yelping, laughing, and crying, I whined to my daughter: "I. Don't. Want. (inhale, sob) To. Walk. Down. (cough, sob) The. Aisle. (whine) On. Cruuuutches....!!!  She lovingly iced my foot, prayed over me, and drove me to get an x-ray. It wasn't broken. (Thankfully. And there were no crutches, and I did get my pretty new heels onto my foot) But on day four, the Dr. Scholl's foot water-spa arrived in the mail: "#2 of 2". I promptly dissolved into tears again. I wasn't sure if it was my soul or my foot that hurt more, but somehow my sisters knew I'd need something for my soul more than I'd known or admitted.

Thank you dear sisters--you know who you are!!

3. It's about the filling, not the emptying. My daughter has been preparing to move to Ireland for two months, and left four days after my son's wedding. In the two weeks leading up to the wedding, there were many packed boxes, bags of trash thrown out, lifetime junk sorted, suitcases packed, wedding gifts stuffed into cars, and furniture moved out, leaving gaping bare spaces in bedrooms. My son was working at a church camp close to his finance's family, which was quite a drive from our home. It didn't make much sense for him to spend a "last night at home" with boring mom and dad. And though the house has grown quieter (which isn't always bad, because there's less dishes and dirty laundry!), I told the LORD to please keep my life full. I don't mean full of chaos, or dirty laundry, but the kind of full that is a life ready to welcome other hearts into our lives. Sometimes life is about pouring out and filling again, and repeating the process over and again many times. 

4. You have to step aside as you bless. As a MOG, you won't have a ton of tasks to keep your hands busy and your mind off the tumult of feelings rolling through you. And oddly, no one really has the role you'll have as the MOG and often won't see or understand this transition. But the Lord knows you'll need your own soul-care as you step aside to let the love of your son's life be his number one. Because if you truly bless their union, you must do just that--step aside. That's not to say run away, get selfish, through a fit, or especially not to neglect your God-given role to pray and bless. From one step further away than before? Yes. But still making your supplications known to the holy of holies, the thrown room of our Father, who knows what it means to give His son away.

(#4 1/2: Though the wedding isn't about you, you will still have feelings that will need to be acknowledged and processed--be sure to take time to do that.)
(#4 3/4: Make sure the FOG keeps the MOG smiling!)

5. Eat, Drink, & Be Merry. When the day finally arrives, enjoy it. Breathe it in. Savor the words. Remember the cloud of witnesses. Take joy in the joining of God's chosen one with your son. This is it. She's "the one".  She's the one you've wondered about, prayed for, hoped for, and waited for. Don't despair, it's a joyous time. So celebrate. Dance. Laugh. Love. 

(Mother-Son Dance: You Are My Sunshine)

First, thank you for all the congratulations that you've sent our way!

Have you married off sons or daughters?
How were they different?
How can you bless families, and your children, during seasons of transition?
What blessed you during a time of transition?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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  1. I've been so so proud of you along this journey! So strong and grace-filled!

    1. Thanks for speaking a lot of that grace to me!

  2. Anne, what a sweet post!! It brought a few tears as I thought of someday. My oldest boy turned twelve two days ago and although it is a ways off it will be but a blink. After all, the first twelve were. Maybe I'll remember this post, call you up, and ask, "What does the MOG do?" Hugs friend!! Hope to see you at ACFW!

    1. Hugs, Tari! Soak in each precious stage! I'll be there at ACFW!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing. This is timely! A month ago our daughter got married to a wonderful guy, and I learned a LOT about being an MOB that I'll never use again. :/

    But then last week our oldest son announced that (at age 32) he finally asked his girlfriend to marry him. So here I am, sailing into uncharted waters again!

    And I love your advice: It's about the filling, not the emptying. In the space of 6 weeks, our youngest son has moved into a house he's sharing with a couple other students, our daughter got married, and our oldest son got engaged. Rather than looking around at our swiftly emptying nest (still one son at home...for now!), I need to look at these new family members and see our family filling up!

    1. I'll be calling on you when it's my turn to be a MOB! I sense that will be entirely different! Bless you as you move through these many transitions! Such a whirlwind.

  4. Anne, this a a beautiful time for your family. The Lord will carry you through this season of transition. Blessings to you and your family!

  5. My daughter got married 11/17/06 and my son got married 7/11/15
    Both were totally different. And our roles as parents were different.
    Enjoyed your pictures and reflections Anne.

    1. Thanks, Gail. I'm sure the next one will be different as each child is so different. :)


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