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When I was in high school, I had a very good friend who had an after-school special kind of transformation from “awkward teen” to “gorgeous girl” overnight. In the process, she got a lot of attention from our male classmates. It went to her head and she started taking advantage of our friendship (telling her mother she was sleeping over at my house without telling me, for instance). We ended up at the same college, coincidentally, and going into the same field. As young adults, we had a reckoning over old resentments and moved on to become close. The problem is that my mother never forgave her for treating me badly. I swore as a parent that I would never do something so childish.
Fast forward a thousand years and now my children are young adults, and I find myself holding grudges against the girls who treated my daughter badly. I don’t want to feel this way, but I do. I don’t even think my daughter harbors resentments anymore! But I still feel angry over old slights. Help!
Now I get it
Once a mother bear, always a mother bear! There is nothing more painful than watching your child go through rejection and emotional anguish, so when the perpetrator is a “friend,” the grizzly comes out in all of us. You’re allowed to feel less than friendly toward the people who slighted your daughter. You’re her mother and your lifelong job has been protecting her. It’s hard to stop doing that just because she had the nerve to grow up (damn them!). But, unlike your mother, I hope you don’t act on it. If your daughter is an adult, these are the things she has to handle in life. None of us want to be judged by the people we were in elementary school or junior high and hopefully, the bullies have shed their skins. But even if not, your daughter’s relationship with them as adults is her business to work out. After all, you did. I’m sure she’s a smart cookie and will handle it well. If you know these young women as adults, try and judge them anew. You don’t have to succeed. In the meantime, smile at your daughter and let your resentment fuel your next hike up Mount Trashmore.
My son recently proposed to his boyfriend. We’re thrilled! But they want to have a celebration that includes a lavish party for 250 people, the pre-nup dinner, post-nup brunch and a long honeymoon to a distant land. This is what people often do so I’m not surprised, but I also know they want to buy a home and start a family, which are both very expensive endeavors. I would love to see them elope, have a smaller party and invest their money – which they don’t have a lot of. But also, I know, it’s their life. Should I make my opinion known or shut up?
Tied in knots about tying the knot
Congratulations! What a wonderful occasion to look forward to!
One part of the equation you have excluded is how your son and his intended plan to pay for the wedding events. If they are paying for it, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on, opinion-wise, and if you are paying for it, you want to give this gift graciously.
However, he is your son, and it sounds like you have a good relationship with him. I believe it is perfectly acceptable for you to offer an opinion, once (and if you have a really good relationship with him, maaaaaaybe twice), about the economy of big vs. small. Your son may or may not appreciate your perspective. My guess is that you already know whether he would appreciate your opinion or just say “talk to the hand” because you’re his mom!
Next time you are all together and having a good time, I would tell him honestly how you feel. But if you are planning to donate a specific amount of money to the cause, then let him know how much it is and tell him it comes with no strings attached. And stick to that amount. That way they know what their budget is and (hopefully) will stay within it. But I will grant you this…it’s extremely annoying that our grown, independent children aren’t always interested in our wise and perspicacious (take that SAT!) council, isn’t it?
Parenting: it’s a life sentence.
My new used car, Elmo (she’s bright red!), just got her first ding, a long scratch and a small dent. I’m sick about it! Not sure how it happened, but I hate that she has her first battle scar. I take such good care of her and now this….should I get it fixed? I’d like to but I’m on a tight budget.
Like parenting, car owning is full of frightening situations that cost a lot of money and fill your heart with terror. However, unlike our precious children, cars are aluminum, steel, glass, and rubber. Therefore, I personally cannot get excited over either owning a nice car or keeping one in pristine condition. If I could, I would still have a car with vinyl seats, roll-down windows and no power steering. ‘Cause I’m cheap and somewhat old-fashioned.
To me, a car is a way to get from point A to point B. An extra closet in some cases. Dumping a lot of money into cars has never made sense to me. But if cars are your thing, go to town (in your car). But if we got rid of everything and everyone with a dent or a scratch, we’d be down to zero-population growth in about a week. Forget the dent and the scratch. Don’t think of them as the beginning of the end, think of them as the automotive equivalent of laugh lines and crow’s feet.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Friday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.