I remember a small 1960’s green book my mother kept with her cookbooks. The writing inside was my grandmother’s and the ink was blue. The book was only partially filled and it came out at holidays, grandmother’s pumpkin pie recipe was the one I recall seeing most often.
I loved that book, and the idea that my grandmother had hand written the recipes in it. She died when I was only ten, the book was a reminder of her after she was gone.
A few months ago I began looking for a book to write in for a shower gift for Katy. I hunted in several stores, taking my time, wanting “just the right thing”. I finally settled on a floral patterned journal that had a pocket in the back, a place I imagined you could put recipes you might cut out of a magazine. Slowly I began the work of transferring all our family favorites into the floral journal.
Breakfast recipes for pancakes and waffles and “Allison’s famous blueberry muffins”, the egg casserole I grew up eating on Christmas morning than has become a tradition in our home. Appetizers like jalepeno poppers, artichoke dip and baked brie along with dinner items like pesto lasagne, prime rib and crock pot favorites all made their way into the recipe book. Katy’s favorite desserts and one that Aaron loves too all written slowly and over the course of many days.
All those recipes have stories that go with them, stories of celebration, stories of moving, stories of holiday’s and many plain old regular days where we were a family eating together, familiar foods we all love.
Writing her recipe book provoked many feelings. The feelings that go with being the MOB (mother of the bride).
I am not sure what exactly to say about being the MOB. Often during the past few weeks I have found myself centering on gratitude. I have been so surprised as one by one our Texas people have sent in their “yes’s” to coming for the wedding. The beauty of it brings tears to my eyes.
As we left Texas one of my aches was knowing we were leaving “our people”, the one’s who had watched my kids grow up, the one’s who knew them when they were in first grade and just learning to read, the one’s who were there when….birthday’s, graduations, back yard parties. I wondered how my heart would navigate the loss of that when the day came for a wedding.
I am grateful that what I had feared about their faces missing from the pews of the church was only that, a fear, a fear that has not come to pass.
And, there have been other places where things have not gone like I thought they would, where life has taken unexpected turns and where disappointment and the stench of death have seeped into what I wanted to protect and keep perfectly safe.
For me, being the MOB is about being present and choosing not to shut down to any part of what’s going on as we move towards Katy’s big day. I must admit that I have felt somewhat flooded with feelings and there have been days when tears have run down my face, where I have felt angry and where I have wanted to scream….and in fact I have done just that.
I believe that evil hates goodness, it hates celebration, it hates redemption and it hates hope. Evil hates this wedding and honestly I believe it hates my family. So the road to the church is bloody because the battle is raging to rob all the goodness, celebration, redemption, hope and joy out this time.
And….evil will not win.
Last week we had a “practice” run to time the music Aaron and Katy have picked for her walk down the aisle.
I stood in the back of the chapel and watched…
Just outside the doors of the chapel is a huge anchor, the symbol of Hope. Of course this is the place where Katy would want to be married, the chapel that sits on the campus named Hope. Of course we would feel the reality of the battle that rages around us in the spiritual realm. Of course.
This is no fairy tale, because fairy tales really aren’t very epic. This is a scene in God’s epic story, His story about life that is resurrected from death…sometimes one step at a time, down an checkered aisle in a church anchored to Hope.
And for this scene I have a special role, one that I find takes my breath away at times, I am the mother of the bride.
Tracy Johnson is a lover of stories and a reluctant dreamer, living by faith that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true there is a life and joy” (Pro. 13:12). Married for 28 years, she is mother to five kids. After nearly a half century of life, she’s feeling like she may know who she is. Founder of Red Tent Living, she writes here.