On Sept. 7, I had my last dance as the mother of the groom, a part I first played in 2009 when my oldest son got married. I got to do it again in 2013, and then TWICE in 2014. (We had three boys get married in an 11-month span, between Dec. of 2013 and Nov. of 2014! Can you say "whirlwind"?)
Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I have been able to enjoy this ineffably sweet wedding tradition five times, while my husband has never had the similar experience of dancing with a beloved daughter as father of the bride. We are the parents of all boys, however, so that just wasn't in the cards for him.
For his mother-son dance, our firstborn picked a sweet country tune by Garth Brooks called "Your Song." Some of the lines in it are incredibly poignant, and so perfect for the occasion. Here are a few of the best ones:
And if ever there was somebody
Who made me believe in me
It was you, it was you...
It was your song that made me sing
It was your voice that gave me wings...
And anytime I doubt myself I think of you...
When the next three boys got married, they all chose the same Back Street Boys song that they knew their mom just loved, "The Perfect Fan." (They could remember me sitting in the living room listening to my favorite CD and putting that song on repeat--over, and over, and OVER...) If you aren't familiar with the lyrics of this winner, here is a sampling:
You showed me
When I was young just how to grow
You showed me
Everything that I should know
You showed me
Just how to walk without your hand
'Cause mom you always were
The perfect fan
God has been so good
Blessing me with a family
Who did all they could...
I want to thank you for all you've done
In hopes I can give back to you
Be the perfect son
Well, not to be outdone by his older brothers, our baby surprised me with a beautiful song I'd never heard before. Like our oldest son (his best man), he chose one by country superstar Garth Brooks, and he didn't share it with me beforehand. To be honest, I was so emotional during our dance that I didn't fully hear and appreciate the words of the song.
Afterward, on our way back home, I texted my boy to ask the name of the song we'd dance to and I found it on You Tube. I'll tell you, the tears flowed in that car as I listened to the lyrics. If ever there was an award for best mother-son dance song, this one called "Mom" would be right up there in the running. If you'd like to listen to it, here it is.
Do you need to get a tissue? I'll wait...
To be totally honest (and much to my shame), when I first saw these professional pictures of this latest--and last--mother-son dance, all I could do was pick apart my appearance. "When did I get so old-looking?" "I hate my profile!" "Why didn't I get contacts, do something fancier with my scraggly hair?" "Yikes, now I know where the phrase 'ugly cry' comes from!" (Why do we women do this?)
But then I stopped obsessing about my own appearance and focused on my boy's face, and in all of the pictures, his love is absolutely shining. He really is that devoted and sweet; and in his eyes, flawed though I am, I can do no wrong. In his eyes, I am that "loving angel, tender, tough, and strong" that God chose to be his mom. What a wonderful son he has always been, and my heart bursts looking at his expressions in all of these photos.
"God has been so good," as my Backstreet Boys so eloquently put it, "blessing me with a family who did all they could." And then some. I do not deserve it; but I'll take it.
And the memory of that last dance will stay with me forever.