So, today my piece about my daughters’ weddings came out, and people who have read it have had very kind things to say. I wrote – and meant – that I have never been in a hurry to see my children get married and reproduce. Most of that has to do with them, and respect for their life choices. I got married and had babies because I wanted to. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody, and that includes the everybodys I schlepped around inside of me for nine (give or take) months.
Here’s what I didn’t say. I didn’t say that as long as you’ve got kids who are single and dating, or even kids who are shacking up and not engaged, you can still lie to yourself at some level about being a young mom of teenagers. But when someone you schlepped around inside of you tells you they’re engaged, it’s game over on the denial front. At least it was for me.
Being put on notice that I’d be adding “mother-in-law” to my personal resume was a bit of a jolt.
It wasn’t bad exactly – I love both my newly-acquired children and did pretty much from the moment I met them. But their presence – and titles – did give me something to chew on. Which wasn’t terrible. It was just reality. And the reality was – and is – that I am not young anymore. Which is not because of them. I’d be getting older whether or not I’d had kids and whether or not they were getting married. But being young wasn’t as much fun as now, at least it wasn’t for me. Now is definitely better. Which might be why I felt young enough to be slightly shocked about being old enough to be the mother of age-appropriate brides.
Becoming somebody’s mother-in-law is definitely one of those defining moments on life’s yardstick. And it compares favorably to some other defining moments, among them no longer getting carded when you buy liquor, having to get a baseline colonoscopy and being called “Ma’am” instead of “Miss” by service industry professionals.
For starters, there were parties and presents. And now, I get Mom perks from people who never gave me a moment’s worry as children or a single grey hair as teenagers. Which makes me feel kind of….loved. And being loved makes me feel….young.