Mother of the Groom

August 8, 2018 by  
Filed under For Her

By Ruth Bomar  

I held her bridal photo. I saw her flawless make-up, her sweeping up-do and her white gown. Does she know? Does she understand?  It was I who introduced him to life.

I sat in the mosquito filled Little League fields, listening to the cicada’s serenade.  I cheered him on while he hit and ran the bases under the lights. In the Astrodome, I watched Bagwell and Biggio become legends in his mind. I tucked him in at night under his pin-striped baseball comforter and discussed the play at second.  

I handed him the rake for the leaves. He jumped off the rope that hung from the tree and scattered the leafy mounds he and his brother had just gathered.  I clicked the pictures while he lay on the carpet of St. Augustine grass as the backyard chickens pecked the food off his forehead.

I bought the rubber boots he used to peddle his bicycle with a bucket in one hand and the dog leash on the other.  He brought home a dinosaur looking critter. On one end it had a scaly triangular tail and on the other a hissing, fierce turtle beak that could snap a branch in two. We looked it up at the library. It was an alligator snapping turtle, part of an endangered species.

I was the one who drove the old Ford pickup to Brazos Bend State Park not far from the house. A narrow road meandered into the swampy park. The cypress knees poked out of the green pea-soup water. My son stuck his head out the window and listened for the romantic crooning of alligators during mating season. He called back in, “Mom, don’t worry about the alligators eating you, as long as we have little sister with us. They only eat the slowest member of the group.”

One dark humid night he hollered and I slammed on the brakes.  He jumped out, straddled the yellow stripe in the country road and held up bullfrog as long as his torso. He grinned into the headlights, knowing I was behind the wheel grinning right back.

I taught him he was the man.  He handled all the man jobs his Daddy would’ve if he weren’t at work downtown or studying for his degree on the weekends. One afternoon, I started up the old pickup, heard the cat screech and saw a flurry of fur. Too squeamish to handle this without my husband, I sent my firstborn to investigate.  He lifted the hood and the cat scampered out. He was the man.

I was the one who handed him the map of Houston’s convoluted freeways as I drove us up US Highway 59 on the HOV lane to go to the museums and the zoo. And, as we drove down 36 to NASA and the beach at Freeport, he was my navigator.

When he became a teenager, I was his date.  Together we watched blood and guts splattered across the big screen – Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Behind Enemy Lines.  I sat on the passenger seat and handed him the keys. I taught him to merge, to yield, and to parallel park.

Does she know that he filled me with more love than I ever knew existed? That he brought so much joy I thought I would burst from the inside out. Does she understand I was the woman of his life all these years?  I held his heart cupped in my hands, protected and shielded, for this day, for her. Does she realize that while I taught him to live life, he taught me to love life?

No, I don’t think she does. I don’t think she understands. I don’t think she can. Not yet.

Nonetheless, tomorrow, I will get my hair done, get a manicure and get my brows waxed. I will don my fancy dress with the shiny rhinestone brooch. I will leave the old Ford at the house, take the Lincoln and head for the church. I will take my place by my husband’s side and watch a lovely bride take her place by my son’s side. I will watch them take hold of each others’ hands and head towards places in the future where I know I cannot go.  

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