Today, Friday September 13, 2013 my youngest daughter is getting married. (Yes, Friday the thirteenth.) I knew when my girls were little that this day was coming. I didn’t know which one would be first, or when the day would be here. But I knew it was coming. Two and a half years ago, she became engaged, and now the day is here.
For those of you who have been through this already, you know how hard it can be. Emotions wave over you at the oddest times. Sometimes joy for what is ahead for them. Sometimes fear for what is ahead for them. Bottom line is that life won’t be easy for either of them, but today they are committing to go through it together.
A long time ago, I understood that my role needed to change from mother to coach/mentor. It wasn’t a easy transition. I did like to be in control and tell my children what to do. It was a gradual process. And truthfully, life was much easier when I made that transition and let go.
Her fiance came and asked for our permission. Smart move. Then he took her away for a long weekend and asked her. As she and I talked about it, I knew that she had definite ideas about how she wanted the wedding to go. She, her sister, and the bridesmaids have planned the whole wedding. I have had the pleasure of watching my two grown women work together, plan together, laugh together, and cry together. They didn’t always agree on things, but they worked it out. I believe I have done a lot of supporting, a lot of stepping and fetching, and not a lot of suggesting or telling her what to do. I hope she would agree with that statement.
As stressful as planning a wedding can be, this has been a wonderful time for our relationship. No Bridezilla or Mother-of-the-Bridezilla at our house. She understands that I have come to respect her as an adult who is intelligent, capable and independent. She has worked hard to shed the old baggage that builds up between parent and child. We don’t always agree, but that’s okay. Life would be pretty boring if we did. I am so proud of her.
If you or someone you know is staring down the barrels of a wedding, my constructive suggestions are:
*If you haven’t already done so, work to make the transition from parent to mentor/coach.
*Accept your child’s choice of spouse even if you don’t like the person. The barriers that go up when you fight with your child over their choice of a life partner can separate parent and child for a long time. Look at the long term picture. (We are blessed that we love her fiance dearly.)
*If you are the parents of the bride, set an amount that you will pay. (Again, we are blessed with a child that wanted to stay within the budget she was given. She did a lot of the work herself making the invitations, the wedding programs, etc.)
*Let go of the reins. As parents, you don’t need to control everything, even if you are paying.
*Remember that the relationship is more important than the flowers, venue, or color of the dresses.
*Make great memories. It doesn’t matter how large or how small the wedding/reception is. What matters is that you relax and enjoy the celebration. Stressed and strained relationships last long after the ceremony is over.
*Don’t sweat the small stuff. Something will go wrong. 100 years from now, no one will know or care. Probably 10 years from now no one will know or care. Maybe even next week no one will know or care. So is it really that important?
Soon this day will be over and we will all be moving on to new adventures. My job as mentor/coach will continue although it is hard to keep my mouth shut sometimes. I carry my roll of invisible duct tape with me at all times and apply liberally over my mouth when I am tempted to give an unsolicited opinion. If you see me and it appears that I have my lips glued together, you will know what happened.
Comments are always welcome…