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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 6:27 pm | Fair 59º


Judy Foreman: ‘Mother of the Groom’ Is a Name Changer for Proud Mom

At only son’s wedding, a mother experiences a lifetime of memories as they transform into pure joy and happiness


I’ve been called many things in my life: daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mom, grandmother and mother of the bride. Last weekend I had the privilege of basking in the joy of a new title: mother of the groom.

My son, Robby, my second child of three, got married in Santa Barbara, and it truly was a happy milestone for me. Still, I wasn’t quite sure of this whole mother-of-the-groom process or whether my new daughter-in-law, Natalie, would call me Mom or just Judy as most do.

It all came together on the day of the wedding, however. No matter my title, I was a proud mother watching her child start his married life with his beloved.

Maybe I’m getting sappy in my old age but I’ve come to realize that after the very challenging child-raising years, a wedding is a rite of passage for the child’s parents, family and friends. Weddings celebrate a couple’s love, hope for the future and a new chapter — something everyone can get behind.

The bridal party included three of Robby’s childhood friends from Montecito Union School who grew up in my Picacho Lane home, a cousin and a brother-in-law. Natalie’s side included my two daughters, her sister and two of her closest friends.

While gazing at this handsome young man — with an adult’s beard and dashing in black tie — and his beautiful bride, a flood of emotions engulfed me. Fortunately, an emergency handkerchief appeared from behind me from a best friend who had made the trip from Chicago.

The look of love in my son’s eyes for his wife-to-be and some wedding jitters were apparent. But as the couple stood holding hands under a rose-draped chuppah, I suddenly was transported back in time to when it was I who was holding his hand for the first time.

Everything came flashing past. Walking him into kindergarten. Every bruised knee and bad haircut. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles birthday party. AYSO soccer and Santa Barbara High volleyball games. His Bar Mitzvah in Israel. Graduations from MUS, Santa Barbara Middle School, Santa Barbara High and the University of Arizona. Even the teenage parties that took place in my house when I was not home.

Natalie and Robby Foreman Click to view larger
Mr. and Mrs. Robby and Natalie Foreman. (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo)

I tried unsuccessfully to stifle my sobs, but the glow of this memorable night soon filled my heart with happiness.

The highlight will always be the traditional mother-son dance. I knew it was coming, but it still caught me by surprise when my son came over to my table and extended his hand. As he escorted me out to the floor he once danced on as a 6 year old at Cotillion, I knew it was a dance I would never forget.

He whispered in my ear, “Mom, we can slow dance or twirl, or what ever you want.” I was nervous to be sure, but also hoping I would not slip and fall in my new stilettos. The guests cheered when the music started playing Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” but silently so did I, knowing I always had and always would.

In that short, two-minute dance, I said goodbye to my little boy and said hello to a young man who also has been known by many names: child, son, brother, uncle, friend and, now, husband.

Congratulations to Robby and Natalie, and best wishes for the brightest of futures.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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