An Engaged Daughter’s Perspective

This morning, we had a post from Erika’s mother Nena about getting engaged just before her daughter. Now we have a post from Erika about grappling with her mom’s remarriage and learning to find joy in it. But even more than that, Erika got married this weekend. (And Nena’s one year anniversary is next weekend, congratulations ladies!) She talks about how she found something to look up to in her mom’s new marriage, and how grateful she is for that.

Two Christmases ago, I received a phone call as my then boyfriend (now fiancé!) and I were leaving his parents\’ house to go to mine for Christmas Eve dinner. On the phone was my mom’s boyfriend, calling to ask for permission to propose to my momma. Of course I said yes! They had been dating for four years at the time, it was the day before Christmas, he made my mom and my family incredibly happy, I liked his kids (whom I had only met a few times), and…I liked him. So with eager anticipation, we waltzed down to my mom’s house and waited for it to occur.

On Christmas morning, while he had planted himself perfectly in front of the tree to dole out presents to everyone, we all kept our eyes on a little black box hidden halfway down the tree in the branches. One hour into opening presents, already down on his knees, he took out the box, and asked my mom to marry him. She was so cute—she looked at all of us and said, “Are you ok with this?”  We replied, “Yes, yes, of course we are, he already asked us.”  And then we popped champagne as she in turn said yes!

Now, that was the fairytale part—the four years leading up to it weren’t so joyful for me.

Still reeling from my parents ending their twenty-two year marriage, my mom began dating a year after the divorce. And while she had been lonely for a long time and was finally ready to begin dating, I wasn’t ready for it and I certainly wasn’t ready to hear about. It was weird, it was strange, and I felt this little brat of a child bubble up inside of me, semi-determined to shed my unhappiness onto my mother. And how incredibly unfair of me it was. I was terrified. I remember bringing three friends with me to meet him for the first time because I couldn’t do it alone. I was still sorting out my relationship with my own father (it’s better now) and my heart had no idea how to compute what was happening. I wasn’t unpleasant around them all the time, but I sure doled out my share of unhappiness, nastiness, and an e-mail that should have never been sent.

But after attending their wedding last Thanksgiving weekend on a beautiful snowy day in Yosemite, with only our immediate families in attendance, I realized that being one big happy family is so much better than not having him in our lives. So in a way this post is an apology to my mother for being a total sh** at times over the past four years. (I think she even called me that once, and if she didn’t, she should have.) But it’s also a thank you—for her patience in letting my brain and heart sort it all out, for allowing me the time to talk with her about it even when she was sick of it, and for letting me form my own relationship with him in my own time.

As I am currently three days away from my own marriage, I am proud of our family and I’m thrilled to be marrying my man. My mother and her husband are one of those couples that is a great role model for people just starting their married lives—the way they talk to each other, respect each other, socialize, yet have their own interests. They also put their relationship and marriage first and check in regularly with each other. A lot of these qualities were ones that my man and I already had in our relationship before we got to know theirs, but it’s inspiring to be around two people in a healthy marriage. Especially when that marriage happened much later in life and we’re just beginning our journey.

Mom, I love you, and I love him for you, and for our family, and the fact that it gives all of us hope that love is always out there, no matter what you’ve been through or how old you are. The two of you are a marvelous couple and my man and I just love hanging out with you. Thank you for bringing him into our lives because he has added so much love, laughter and richness, something I certainly didn’t assume would happen. We are all better for it, and I’m glad you both have someone to grow old with. I love you.

Photos by: Erika’s Personal Collection

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