Your Heart

My “Millennial” Daughter Is Getting Married And So, Farewell, Old-Fashioned Love.

By January 28, 2016 0


This is what we have been waiting for! We love her fiancé and they have been together a long time!

… Be careful what you wish for, that’s all I can say.

Good friends of ours just married off both their daughters within ten months’ time. The dad didn’t miss a beat when we shared our good news. “That’s great.” he said. “Tell them to elope.”

I thought he was just saying that because he had been through what had to have been the most hectic year imaginable. Now I understand what he meant, and wonder how his family survived that year.

When you have a baby (and in this case, she was our first) the experience is so life-altering that it blows you away. You’re young. You and most of your friends haven’t been married all that long. I look back on it and can’t wrap my head around the wide-eyed novices that we were. Over and over, as each couple brought another baby into the world, we all celebrated. Suddenly, our parties doubled in size, the additional people measuring in at around two feet tall, accompanied with one or more big people chasing after them.

But then, slowly, life began to wreak its havoc on our group. The two-year old daughter of our best man and his wife died suddenly of some terrible kind of pneumonia. The brother of the two brides mentioned above was born with a heart problem requiring multiple surgeries on his little newborn body. Our son was diagnosed with autism. Another couple of friends struggled for ten years, before at long last being able to conceive. Life kicks your ass and circumstances play out to where you hang with only a couple old friends on a regular basis.

Fast forward twenty years and our daughter is getting married. All of our old gang has reached a point in their lives where things are fairly stable, which is to say, we can at the very least get together without hiring babysitters. And while my husband’s diagnosis of cancer brought the troops out in full force last year, we now finally have something so wonderful to celebrate, and this is that crowning moment!

We are giving our daughter away to begin her own family, except she says it’s her wedding. It’s not about the parents.Well of course, and well­, no. Here we go. The fun begins. She says she wishes she could have two weddings: One where we invite the family (our side is big and Greek) and we can have what we want, and another that she and her fiancee can invite their important people, and have exactly what they want. She follows that by telling me she works with a girl who did just that, and I suddenly feel like I’m listening to my 7th grader tell me that everyone else gets to have two study halls but she can’t even have one.

She complains we want to invite people she doesn’t even know. That’s not true. Sure, there are a few she doesn’t know really well, but no strangers. We aren’t inviting people we work with, or our stock broker. She won’t understand any of this until she is in her 50’s and their friends have been their friends for 35 years or more. She won’t understand any of this until she is marrying off her own child. She gets so angry with me and feels I’m unreasonable. I wish she could add up the many things we haven’t challenged her on. Honestly, some of the concessions we were asking for were our attempt to make sure the wedding didn’t too closely resemble a keg party.

So how do we bridge this divide? When I got married, my father handed me a check and said, “This is what I spent on your sister’s wedding. Do whatever you want with it.” I appreciated the gift but it only covered about 20% of the large Greek affair we were required to throw. We paid for the rest ourselves, and although my wedding wasn’t my dream wedding, there was one thing that counted above all else; At the end of the day, I was going to be the Mrs. to my Mr., so for my daughter to insinuate that an 80’s wedding was not about love is just crazy. It was all about love. The love and pride my husband’s immigrant parents felt for their son and his bride required that everyone they ever knew be invited to celebrate our union. The love my groom and I had for each other was the thing that mattered to us most. We just wanted to be married so we gave his mother the wedding she wanted, and seeing the joy on her face throughout the evening was priceless.

Because two years later she would pass away a month short of meeting her first granddaughter—who is now getting married.

So my take away is this: as when you were young and your parents seemed to be stupid, big, pain­-in­-the-­asses, they were really just trying to love you the best way they could. That applies in every stage of life. You have to cut parents some slack. We’ve been through some shit and whether we have handled it with grace or with mud on our faces, our intentions have always been in the right place.

I think it’s about understanding and communication and love, be it modern or old fashioned.