Abandoned on the dancefloor

A mother was denied the traditional mother/son dance at her son’s wedding — and it broke her heart.

It might be time to let this go, advises our elder.

Dear EWC

My son was married last weekend. The bride and groom had their first dance, then the father/daughter dance, and I was waiting on the side to be called for my mother-son dance. I was told to go up front for the dance by one of the wedding planner assistants, which I did. When the father-daughter dance was over, the father of the bride took the mike and announced it was time for everyone to dance. I was devastated. I had no idea that I would be denied the traditional mother/son dance. I knew of no reason why he chose not to honor me. I always thought I had a very good relationship with my son and his new bride. My husband and I are professional people who have been happily married for 35 years. We do not have family problems that I know. It was not a mistake either. The wedding planner confirmed that it was not on the schedule.

Neither the bride nor her parents came to me to apologize that evening or have apologized since. I struggled the rest of the evening to keep my composure after having my heart broken. My son did eventually come to me and said he didn’t think I would be that upset and we could go out on the dance floor now. Let me clarify that I have been very generous to my son and bride. I normally see them often for dinner at my house. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on a seated rehearsal dinner for 80+ at a private club as well as the welcome party at the same venue, although we live 350+ miles away. I have been very generous with additional funds, sharing the rehearsal dinner flowers for the church, buying the tux, planning and paying for a farewell coffee, etc. I don’t know why they did this to me. My husband and I wonder where we go from here.

Mama-Joan replies

Congratulations on your son’s wedding. Both my sons were married within the past five years and I can attest that the wedding day can be stressful, yet so wonderful. It sounds as though your son’s wedding was lovely and you have much to be grateful for. I strongly encourage you to not take the oversight of the (lack of) mother/son dance personally. I’ve planned many large events over the course of my career and one can count on something always going wrong.

I understand why the mother/son dance was so important to you. When my first son got married my emotions were on edge throughout the occasion. I worried about the family he was marrying into, the spouse he chose and how his marriage would change our very special relationship. (He’s now been married five years; I love my daughter-in-law and we have a granddaughter with another grand baby on the way.) My worries were unfounded.

Once your son realized that your feelings were hurt because of the missed mother/son dance and offered to dance with you… I hope you had your mother/son dance. That would have been a special moment for you and your son and would have set your day back on track. His gesture was thoughtful and kind and I don’t know what else he could have done to rectify the situation (your hurt feelings) at that point.

You sound like a mother that likes to keep score, which can be very difficult for our children because there is no way they can ever repay us for all the love and support we invest in raising them. Certainly our greatest joy as parents is to see our children develop into loving, caring, successful adults. To see our sons so happy on their wedding days with their new brides and the promise of their lives together is a time of great joy for us as parents.

Please set this incident aside… for your sake as well as your son’s. (He’s just learning to navigate the in-law waters, too. Consider how your desire for a personal apology affects him.) Please write again any time.

Letter #: 435492
Category: Children

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