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5 Life-Altering Lessons From a Viral Video

Yes, Mothers of the Groom should dance, but maybe not on center stage

By Linda Bernstein

You see, my son and his girlfriend have made it clear to me that they have no plans to get married, and I completely understand and accept that. So there’s no reason for me to be thinking about being a “mother of the groom” (or MOG in acronymic parlance).
Except, of course, there’s every reason for me to be thinking about it because I totally expect that my son and his girlfriend will indeed get married at some point. There’s evidently a wee part of me that hasn’t signed on to their non-marriage program.

(MORE: How to be a Role Model for Your Adult Children)
Nonetheless, having an unmarried son of a certain age with a wonderful girlfriend shouldn’t induce a basically normal person (like me) to watch a video of a MOG dancing with her son every time it showed up on her Facebook feed, which was probably seven times. OK, closer
to 25.

Each viewing, I saw something different, a move, a facial expression. I also read all the comments people left on their friend’s posts, as well as the ones on YouTube. Everyone loved it, calling the video “heart-warming,” “amazing,” “delightful” and “sweet.”
Watch and Learn
Me...well, not so much. Though many things that happened in the four-minute video had me ready to fist bump my computer screen, some struck me as off-key.
Still, the clip highlighted five truly valuable life lessons. Some are pertinent to all of us 50-plussers. Others I’ll keep in mind for my son’s wedding, WHICH I KNOW ISN’T HAPPENING SOON.

(MORE: The 6 Things You Shouldn't Say to Your Adult Child)

Lesson 1: Ladies and Gents, Go For It!

I don’t mean just doing a mad-crazy, bust-a-move dance routine at your son’s wedding reception. Actually, I specifically don’t mean that. (Keep reading.) But this video makes it clear that even though our kids might be old enough to tie the knot, we are young enough to do the unexpected and enjoy ourselves thoroughly.

Take Debbie, my best friend from college. A few years back, she began ballroom dancing and now occasionally enters contests. In the photos she posts on Facebook, she’s wearing those impossibly garish-but-elegant ballroom gowns, the ones with sequins and mesh-covered cutouts that mimic bare skin, and she’s smokin’. Her grown stepchildren leave comments like: “My mom is so hot!”
Lesson 2: Don’t Be Afraid Of Embarrassing Your Adult Children

To be truthful, sometimes we do embarrass them. Not always, though. In the YouTube video, the groom, Blake, appears fine with his mom strutting her stuff. After the dance, he embraces her with real love, a huge hug that begins at 3:05 and lasts a full 10 seconds. There is no way this guy was embarrassed. During the video, you can see Blake is having a great time. He and his mom, Kathy Turner, have worked hard on the routine, and Blake is one proud son.

(MORE: How to be the Perfect Mother of the Bride)

Lesson 3: Surround Yourself With Friends


This dancing MOG receives an ecstatic response from the wedding guests. Before the camera pans to the table where her friends are on their feet, applauding, we can hear some guy yelling, “Whoa, whoa.” (According to the description on YouTube, that’s Aaron Turner from So You Think You Can Dance.) When the videographer zooms in, we see several women making bow-down motions with their arms. That’s the kind of people you want to invite to your son’s wedding: men and women who will imbibe all the joy and fuss over your awesomeness — and your son’s.
Lesson 4: Don’t Outshine the Bride

Let me direct you to the cringe-worthy moment at 3:27 where the bride puts her hand over her heart and grimaces. All right. Maybe she had a long day. As a recent mother of the bride, I know even the most easy-going of brides gets stressed out.

Perhaps the bride (whose name we never learn) is simply relieved that the dance routine came off so well. For a moment, though, she looks distinctly unhappy. Blake, instead of hugging and kissing the woman he’s marrying, is distracted by the fuss around his mom. All that is nice, but this young woman in the wedding dress should not be upstaged, in my opinion.
Lesson 5: Let Go When It’s Time

Here’s a truth: Your child should, and hopefully does, love the person he has chosen to marry more than he loves his mother, or father for that matter.

Gone are the days when your son or daughter thinks you have superhuman powers. Ta-ta to the times when the first words out of your child’s mouth each morning were, “I love you, Mommy.”

The consuming waves of affection we continue to feel for our children are not reciprocated. They may love us, but we don’t rock their world. That’s the way it is. As I watched Kathy Turner look at her son in the video, I found myself hoping she understands that his new wife is now his No. 1 woman.
The Truth I Recently Discovered

Finally, I discovered another truth in my recent journey as a mother-of-the-bride. No matter how much work you put into your child’s wedding, no matter how many thousands of your dollars have found themselves in the pockets of caterers, photographers and other wedding vendors, the bride and groom own the wedding. It’s their show.
Yes, I love the way that at many Jewish weddings these days, the parents of the bride and groom find themselves lifted in chairs like kings and queens on their thrones during the traditional dancing of the Hora, a ritual that used to be limited to the bride and groom. Give the moms and dads their moments of glory — but remember to keep it to just a moment.
Take to heart the comment my friend Debbie’s son, Daniel, made after she sent him this YouTube video. “I know you’d never show me up like that,” he said.
Now, my son has some pretty spectacular dance floor moves, including break-dance tricks and a full-blown Kazatzka. No matter how well I can dance, I could never outdo him at his not-going-to-happen-in-the-near-future wedding. Nor would I want to.

Linda Bernstein has written hundreds of articles for dozens of magazines and newspapers, writes the blog GenerationBsquared and teaches journalism at Long Island University, Brooklyn. Read More
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