Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Priest, a Mother and a Bride Walk into a Bar

It might seem like the opening line to a joke, but the only way it would be funny is if someone finished with the line-take my mother, please!

I love my mother, don't get me wrong. We have our good days, and our bad...and just so you know I tend to write on the bad...but we seem to have gotten stuck in the phase of teenage adolescence (at least they believe that I am) and we can't escape it.

My mom has always wanted me to behave a certain way, we'll call it the "good daughter" way. Stand up straight, smile for god sakes, wear only appropriate clothing (no cleavage, belly or anything too short) don't argue, don't pierce or tattoo, don't drink, don't argue, make time for your family, no driving with anyone under the age of 21, do what you're told, don't have sex until you're married, don't argue and finally why can't you be like (insert name of specified cousin, peer, other particular idol that my mother was certain was a better daughter than I was).

Well I blew all of that right out of the water. (My favorites were when she wanted me to be like someone in high school that I knew was a kiss ass to parents but had the worst reputation- well which one is more important to you, be like her, or get VD for graduation??) The funny thing was I always thought that I was being the good daughter. I wasn't some wild child sneaking out, getting drunk, going to parties, and that was even in college. I did what I was told because it had been ingrained in me for so long that it took years before I realized that I needed to be sure that my own needs and wants were being met. Since I have done this, well the good daughter doesn't visit so much, at least the way my mother tells it.

Over time I have killed her with embarrassment again and again. I dated a man that I met on the Internet. I eventually moved in with this man before getting married, I refused to coerce my boyfriend to get married, and now I want to plan my own wedding. Horrors!

It wasn't always like this. I remember when I was growing up she'd tell me stories from her own wedding. How she didn't get to choose anything that she wanted- her parents did it all. She didn't get to have any close girlfriends as her bridesmaids, it was all her sisters and cousins. She didn't get to go out and have a girls night, she had to stay in and make paper flowers for the car, even walking down the aisle my grandfather asked her if she really wanted to do this repeatedly- all because my dad wasn't originally catholic (he converted to marry mom). The night before their wedding they missed the rehearsal because they were sent off running errands and they wouldn't redo the rehearsal because it wasn't necessary. Mom told me that she was so upset that she tried to convince my father to just run off and elope to Niagara Falls. In the end they didn't only because one of my dad's aunts had flown in from England and they didn't want to disappoint her.

I took all of those stories to mean that when it came time for my wedding that she'd be understanding and want to work with me in the manner that her parents didn't. Instead right out of the starting gate they just kind of did their own thing. Looking at reception sites without us, never asking how big a wedding we wanted- just assuming that we'd want a big 300 person wedding, and now pressure to have the catholic ceremony when I really want to have a garden wedding and grief because I chose friends first to be in my wedding party instead of cousins.

There's a little part of me that's hurt she can't see how much its all upsetting me. The first month after our engagement I wasn't eating much, defiantly wasn't sleeping and nothing I seemed to do or say with my fiance would make me feel like she was listening.

A month after we got engaged my dad and I were driving to yet another site, and he finally asked me what did I see for my wedding. Parents that don't try to take over was on the tip of my tongue, but I went the other road.

I want to enjoy my engagement, I want to plan a wedding that's practical and reflective of my fiance and myself. I want my parents to be willing to have open and honest discussions with me about budgets, ceremonies and guest lists instead of flying off the handle and giving me the silent treatment for weeks on end because they don't like what I have to say. I want my dad to walk me down the aisle- so eloping isn't a possibility, and I want our friends and family to surround us while we pledge to marry one another.

The funny thing is- I understand exactly how my mother felt during her wedding, now if only I could remind her of how she felt then maybe we could get somewhere instead of circling each other in this cage death match we seem to have going.

Oh well, if we had the cage match maybe we could sell tickets. It would pay for the cost of the wedding and a great honeymoon to boot.

So, now back to the joke. I'm on my way to meet with my parents priest. My parents arranged the informal meeting because they wanted to hear exactly what was involved in Pre-Cana (that my friends is another blog all in of itself!) and I suspect because they want to have an audience to guilt me further into having a Catholic Mass Wedding. Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm being set up for an exorcism. I cast thee ungrateful bride out! We'll have to see.

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