I am in adjustment mode from the time change, meaning I was awake at 5:45 on a Sunday morning. While I did in fact receive the usual allotment of sleep, it feels like a bad precedent to be up before 7 on a weekend when my first and only time commitment (hair appointment) is not until 10 a.m. We are loosely planning to drop a bbq off at my son’s house as well as pick up and deliver their replacement washing machine later today, but it could happen at noon or not until after dinner this evening. It will get done today, sometime. Depends on schedules, and it is definitely too early to even text to inquire about theirs.
Going through my email there is a note from A’s mother. My daughter, C, had warned me that she might be texting/calling/emailing about the upcoming holiday schedule, so I was not especially surprised. However, as always, the content caught me off guard. Yes, she did want to invite us to a holiday party in December and was inquiring about dates, but she also wanted to see if I knew of any way to further motivate the kids (i.e., my daughter) to set a wedding date.
Ummm … NO.
Having been a parent for all these years, I know there are a lot of different parenting styles and family dynamics. C has her family dynamic and she is comfortable with it. Plus she actually likes us as people as well as loves as parental units. Anyone who has followed along thus far knows that A has a very large, boisterous, democracy-driven type family, where everyone feels their opinion and votes count on any personal decision anyone in the family chooses to make. A’s mother is a very nice, very well-meaning person, yet she seems to be incapable of understanding that backing off and letting her son and future daughter-in-law steer their own future is for the best. I have told her this repeatedly, yet the questions, the pleas, the demands to set a date and start planning persist.
I am frustrated with her and the majority of my interaction with the issue is secondhand, through venting sessions with C. A has been better about standing up and standing ground with his family, but a lifetime of habit is not curbed overnight. He gets kudos for trying, but it remains a source of friction and difficulty.
Every now and again I am forced to deal with this issue directly. The first email reply I composed this morning was pretty scathing and will not be sent without heavy editing or a complete rewrite. Our kids’ marriage means we will be directly or indirectly interacting forever, so I want to be kind while stating clearly, politely, that I think this decision belongs to the kids and we cannot, should not pressure them about it. If her attitude and pushing did not upset my daughter so much, I would probably not have this type of heated, negative reaction toward her. However, C is sensitive, she loves A, and she wants him to not friction with his family. That said, the whole engagement/wedding/marriage process and procedures should be all about she and A, period. It would be nice to be invited, to be present at this milestone event, but if she elopes tomorrow I will be disappointed but not especially upset. I will not hold it against her and emotionally blackmail her. A’s mother is very different in that regard. Not telling her something hurts her feelings and those hurt feelings are expressed in vivid, guilt-inducing ways to her son, and by extension, my daughter. Again, A understands that things are different now, but it is an ongoing, overwhelming challenge to cutback on those apron strings, much less cut them completely.
I admire my daughter for being sensitive to his plight, because this is his mother we’re talking about. But I also have some maternal pride in her own backbone and holding firm to her belief that they need to be solidified as a couple standing on their own two feet and not being bullied by family pressure into consequential actions until they are ready. For the record, they are in no hurry to get married. A just landed his first “real” job after college, C is working toward a career transition herself. They are saving for a home, which is a much higher priority for both of them than an actual wedding.
My more composed reply will be later today, maybe even tomorrow. It will be friendly, polite, and reiterate our position that the kids’ wedding will happen when they are ready to make it happen, so please relax, be patient, and let them enjoy being engaged.
I always hope she listens this time.