Heidi's son got married this past weekend. It was an unsurprisingly beautiful and meaningful event, as one involving two wonderful, hope-filled and faithful people making promises to each other should be. My contemplative thoughts weren't, however, on the bride or groom, but on the mother of the groom. (Which is Heidi if you missed that.)
There is an episode of the first season of "The West Wing" when President Bartlet greets the secretary of agriculture (I think) who is selected to sit in the Oval Office during the State of the Union because of the line of succession thing (grab your social studies textbook if you're not following me.) Anyway, the secretary of agriculture is understandably nervous sitting amid the grandeur of the Oval Office, what with his office digs likely having lots of gray walls and seed corn caps and soil samples and hair nets and other things you would expect to be at the Department of Agriculture - to say nothing of inheriting the whole leader of the free world job if something happened up the street during the State of the Union. So the president advises as his first step, "You have a best friend? Is he smarter than you? He's your chief of staff."
Heidi is my chief of staff. Mainly because she's smarter than me and tells me things that I sometimes don't want to hear, but she is usually right about, and everyone needs a friend like that.
It got me thinking about how important mothers of the groom and chiefs of staff are, and we never really get to see all the stuff that goes into those job descriptions. Both keep things running in the left lane while staying in the right lane with an eye on the shoulder and the exits. Both provide advice and counsel only when asked for, but find elegant ways to provide it when it's not asked for and it's clear that it's needed. Both understand the "contributing to something bigger" part of their more understated, support staff role.
Where would we be without people like that?
Heidi has always amazed me, and she's dismissive when I tell her this, but like many spouses and moms who don't "work outside the home" (I hate that term - work is work, no matter what your backdrop looks like), I don't think she fully understands how many things would completely go off the rails if she woke up one day and decided not to do what she does.
It's a role that is frequently overlooked and underappreciated. When I think about the amount of stuff that I jump into at a breakneck pace while blindfolded, wearing heels, drinking a cup of coffee and eating hot soup, I'm grateful I have Heidi to grab my by the scruff of the neck when it's needed. It's frequently needed. And I'm by no means the only person in her life she supports this way.
The couple who got married are two of them. Her other kid standing beside them is another. The guy she sat next to during the ceremony - raise your hand, brother. There were a lot of us in the room.
She's the glue that holds it together, she's the safety net that catches what falls, she's the voice that says "get on it", "you can do this" or "I love you" when that's what needs to be heard. And she'll say, "shut up!" when she reads this and change the subject to something that's not about her.
That's what mothers of the groom do, but I know better. Thanks, Heids.