This was the moment I had been waiting for. I was finally marrying off one of my children. The wedding hall pulsed with excitement and I moved from guest to guest as the music played softly. Suddenly the melody changed and the room became electrified. It was time for the bedeken, the moment when my son, escorted by his father, his soon-to-be father-in-law, and hordes of singing and clapping friends, would make his way to his bride. She, sitting on her white throne, was waiting for him to cover her lovely face with the veil.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” I repeated as I tried to push my way closer without being rude.
Most of the girls fell back making a path for me but one stood her ground.
“I also want to be close!” she declared.
“But I am the mother of the groom,” I told her.
“Oh.” She moved and I took the place that was rightfully mine, right next to the bride, the winsome girl who would become my son’s wife, my daughter-in-law, the mother of my grandchildren.
That was nine years ago. Since then I have learned many things about making a wedding. I have learned not to be apologetic for claiming my rightful place as the mother of the bride or groom. I have learned, since I am paying for the catering, to be assertive and order a special serving for myself befitting my restrictive diet. I have learned to request that the band lower its decibel level so I can enjoy the event. Most important, I have learned not to despair.
Ten years ago it seemed as if we would never marry off any of our children. Now, looking back, I was probably somewhat silly to have been so worried, but I did not know that then. At the time I knew I had four children old enough to marry and nothing was happening. All around me my friends were becoming mothers-in-law and then grandmothers. I waited and I waited. I tried not to be envious and to stay hopeful. I wondered and I prayed.
And then our middle child married. Within the year we had two more weddings. Now, nine years later, with HaShem’s help, we will soon be taking our youngest to the chupah to marry her childhood sweetheart. There are no words to describe my joy. Nor are there words to explain my thankfulness to HaShem. I continue to pray that He will answer my heartfelt prayers and He will continue to bestow His goodness on all of us.