Meg, over at A Practical Wedding (which, as I have indicated previously, has become my new favorite website), has a GREAT new feature termed Wedding Undergraduates.
I mentioned in my last post that I think this website should be required reading for all women (and men, who are so inclined), regardless of their marital status. I think the Wedding Undergraduates – now that I am one myself – should be required reading for all unmarried women (particularly those who are embroiled in the planning of someone else’s wedding), as well as parents.
Parents, you say?
Truth be told, parents don’t want their children to grow up. They think they do – obviously, if they grow up to be well-adjusted, functioning adult members of society, you can sit back and relax, priding yourself in a job well done. Except, most people don’t do that. We can’t. We can’t relinquish control in that way. We’re hard wired to want that control, and once we have it, to hold onto it with a death-grip and never let go.
Case in point: On December 26, I like to shop. It’s my favorite day of the year to shop, in fact.
Normally, I hate shopping when the malls/outlets are a zoo. I avoid shopping centers in the weeks preceeding Christmas (sometimes it is unavoidable, but I try), and I HATE Black Friday (conversely, I LOVE Cyber Monday!). It’s insanity. I have a job to do – get people the perfect gifts that they will love – and the crowds just GET IN MY WAY of doing this efficiently. It makes me nuts. December 26th, however, does not have this kind of pressure. On that day, armed with gift cards, I raid the stores’ liquidation sales. I usually come home with a load of new clothes for pennies. I don’t always – but, that’s the beauty of it. Who cares? I’m shopping for the sake of a good deal, not with a specific end result in sight. If I don’t get said good deal, well, no harm done. My mother, on the other hand, is not fond of shopping. Ever, at all. Especially with crowds. As she’s gotten older, she’s become much more fashion savvy – in part because of working in a professional environment for so long, and essentially being forced into it, and also, in part, because of her clotheshorse daughter. Even still, she would prefer do some shopping on an off-weekend with no crowds, or, better, on her lunch break mid-weekday.
So, anyhow, weeks before Christmas, when planning the holidays with my mother, I informed her that, as always, I would be shopping on December 26, regardless of what her plans were. When I was a teenager, she would often sabotage these plans, and having no license or car (though, yes, I did have plenty of my own money), I often was left disappointed by her refusal to take me. Not so anymore. However, I was unsurprised when, days before Christmas, she started talking about wanting to see a movie on … you guessed it. December 26. “That’s fine,” I said. “But I’m shopping. If you want, we can ride together and I’ll shop while you watch the movie.”
Okay, it wasn’t a toddler-style tantrum. That’s unfair. However, I think that word best describes her reaction to my statement that I wanted to shop and not go to the movies. Was the tantrum because I wouldn’t go with her to the movie? Surely not. Not only has she never been afraid to go to the movies by herself, I also offered to go see the movie with her at a different time or on a different day. No, the tantrum was, quite simply, that a). I didn’t want to do the exact same thing that she did; and/or b). that I wasn’t 12 years old, and she couldn’t FORCE me to do that exact same thing.
This is, obviously, completely unrelated to wedding planning. Except, that it really is not. How many brides (and grooms) complain that their parents and/or future in-laws cry and scream and stomp their feet about doing things one way as opposed to another way? No one way is necessarily the “right” way or the “wrong” way (just like going to the movies vs. shopping is neither “right” nor “wrong”), but they are different and often conflicting. Heaven forbid, my child have opinions and tastes that are separate from me! I’m going to put my foot down and he/she is going to do it my way! Because this is MY child, and he/she HAS to listen to me, and that’s THAT!
You know, just like they did when you were 12 years old. Except, you’re not 12 years old, you’re a Full Fledged Adult.
So maybe, just maybe, seeing some of this in writing, reflected by others whom they don’t know, will be a reality check.
Or, maybe, it will result in them thinking that theirs isn’t the only “ungrateful” son/daughter. 🙂