POV from the MOB | The Coulda, Shoulda, Wouldas of an Absent Mom

I am a second generation "absent" MOB. My mother worked in Africa and couldn't tell the American Ambassador in Cairo that she had to fly home for her oldest daughter's wedding. And then history tragically repeated itself when it was my turn to be the MOB for Chelsea. I lived on the West Coast, owned a business that required that I be there at the very time my oldest East Coast daughter wanted to get married.

I did the best I could online, by email, and by phone. Nothing could have kept me from the actual wedding day though! I closed my store. I wish I 'coulda' been there for the beginning, to see the sparkle of the tear in her eye when she realized that she had just tried on her wedding dress for the first time. I saw pictures but that didn't do it justice. I 'woulda' liked to have shared that Kodak moment. I 'woulda' liked to have known more about the Williamsburg venue; I missed taking the tour. It was so important to her, and I hadn't realized the gravity of how important that detail was until a few years later. I heard her wishes and understood her desires, but I could not have known how important those details were to her until I saw it for myself. I missed the cake tasting, and worse, the bridal shower. Maternal guilt.

Thank goodness for supportive close friends and family who made sure she had help in the planning stages of her wedding because that was the only consolation. I am very grateful to have had a "surrogate" MOB who was close to her and was capable of doing what my daughter wanted and needed.

With good timing, communication with her best friends and family-- your daughter can have her day, and you can still be part of it.

* Communicate with the "surrogate" and your daughter to ensure that plans are progressing as needed.

* Pay the vendor bills on time to avoid any delays or problems. Ask how you can help.

* Know your daughter, know her dreams and capabilities.

* Divide and delegate what can be done by someone else.

* Be grateful and appreciative to those who can and will be able to help her.

Be the biggest rock in the rubble of uncertainty. Most importantly, "be there" - in any way that you can. Life is full of "woulda, coulda, shouldas." It's important to accept that sometimes mothers in today's world simply cannot always be physically present for those special moments. And when you are able to be present, enjoy that time together.

- Kay

Looking for more POV from the MOB? Read the entire series!

Kay Dayton is a contributing writer to Tidewater and Tulle. Hailing from San Diego, Kay found herself back in Hampton Roads to be with her two daughters (one of whom is the Tidewater and Tulle editor!) in late 2013. With years of managerial experience (and a her passion for nature and macro photography) in the non-wedding world, she brings a refreshing perspective on the local wedding industry, especially as a past mother-of-the-bride. When she's not keeping things organized on the business end, Kay loves to go beachcombing, sailing, and rooting for the Chargers.

Photo by Fareine Benz.