It’s not really the true eve of her wedding.  That will be Thursday night, but we’ll be all rehearsing and offline and since I know she reads my blog at work (like mother, like daughter…) and she’s off work from Wednesday onward, I’m writing this now.  It’s the eve of the eve of the eve.

Dear Katie,

I have read that good mothers will pull their daughters aside prior to the wedding date to explain to them all the important things about marital intimacy, the birds and the bees.

I considered the prospect of you and me having that conversation and then couldn’t stop laughing.  I don’t think we’ll go there.  Though if you have any specific questions, I welcome you to ask them so I can blush and quickly change the subject.  Plus – these days, people have the Internet for all those answers and also you’ve probably figured all that out by now.  (And if that’s the case, do you mind if I ask you a few questions??)

It is funny thinking about the taboo subject here.  I’m not sure if I did an adequate job imparting information to you in that area, but I tried.  In fact, a few of my most favorite Katie stories involve the topic of the birds and the bees.

When you and your sister were fairly young, I bought the book Where Did I Come From? and the two of you sat on either side of me that first time so I could read it to you.  It was all illustrated and stuff.  Remember?  I really should have pre-read because even though it was said to be age appropriate, I found myself getting embarrassed and I tried to sneakily skip pages, but NOOOOOOO… there you were “Mom, you missed a page.  Mom, you missed another page.”  Not sure how I got through that, but I remember handing you the book afterward and saying “Here, you guys can just keep this up on your bookshelf in your bedroom and look at it whenever you want.  You can read well enough now – it’s all yours!”

There must have been some intervening discussions here and there, right?  I’m sure there were.  (If not, don’t tell me.  I’ll just feel guilty.)

The next time I specifically remember the topic coming up was at dinner one night many years later – all of us assembled, including Bill and his dad.  Do you recall – you announced that you were officially the last virgin in your group of friends.  I don’t remember if my reply was shocked silence or hysterical laughter.

It wasn’t long after that we were getting you ready to go away to college.  You were 18 and we shopped for all the things you’d need.  I insisted on sending a big box of condoms, no questions asked.  You had only been at school for a couple of weeks when you called to say “Hey, Mom, send more condoms.  That first jumbo box is gone already!”

You have always – always – made me laugh.  I’m pretty sure you came straight from the womb with a fully formed sense of humor.  (Don’t listen to your father – you get it from ME.  I’m the funny one, dammit.)

I can’t believe you’re getting married.  I mean, I totally can, of course, but jeez – it went by so fast!  Well, it sort of dragged in the middle there, but other than that – lightning fast.

I feel like I ought to impart some wisdom to you, but the coffers are low.  Plus, really, writing about it here on my public blog is more about exploiting the whole thing in exchange for ego-stroking comments.  Being an over-sharer and an attention whore yourself, I’m sure you can understand.  (If not, shoot me an email and I’ll delete this whole post and replace it with a knock-knock joke.  Or even better -  how about this:  Why wouldn’t the baby shrimp share his toys?  Because he was a little shellfish.  Get it?  Selfish/shellfish?  Funny stuff, huh?)

In the absence of wisdom, you get this instead:

Traditional sentiment:  Never go to bed angry.

Mom wisdom:  Going to bed angry is preferable to murdering your spouse.  Weigh your options carefully.

Traditional sentiment:  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Mom wisdom:  Under normal circumstances, I would agree with this.  But if there is ever a time when there are infants not sleeping through the night and toddlers in diapers drawing crayon murals on the walls, well, then absence just makes the one left at home homicidal.  I think what I’m saying is this – if you ever find yourself in that situation, make sure you’re the one sleeping diagonally with twelve pillows in a comfy hotel bed far away.  You’ll get more sleep that way.

Traditional sentiment:  Home is where the heart is.

Mom wisdom:  Sometimes, your heart may be at  a beach far, far away or anywhere that is NOT home.  Hopefully, in those cases, your finances will cooperate and you can leave home far behind for awhile and go hang out with your heart and maybe some margaritas on the beach for awhile.

Traditional sentiment:  The best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.

Mom wisdom: I’m not saying that this isn’t a good gift, but I’d just like to encourage the man to consider the gift of boarding school in addition.  Those two things together?  Pretty awesome.  Well, I’d imagine them to be pretty awesome is what I’m saying.

Traditional sentiment:  The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Mom wisdom:  Uh, no.  Wrong.  I won’t even bother to correct that explicitly because we all know the true way to a man’s heart is generally a little lower than the stomach!  (Actually, I believe there are two ways to his heart:  via the bits in his pants or straight through his chest cavity.  Which route you choose depends upon what effect you’re attempting to have on his heart.  Choose wisely.)

Traditional sentiment:  Choose your battles.

Mom wisdom:  Choose your battles, sure.  But also:  plan your strategy, bulk up your arsenal, raise your army, and attack when his defenses are down.   If you’re choosing your battles, you ought to optimize your chances for kicking ass; that’s all I’m saying.

Traditional sentiment:  Honesty is the best policy.

Mom wisdom:  Too much honesty is enough to get your ass kicked, and rightfully so.  Especially if you have PMS.  Trust me – it’s better to bite your tongue until it’s bloody than to honestly share everything that is on your mind.  Learn from my mistakes, I beg of you.

Traditional sentiment:  Love is never having to say you’re sorry.

Mom wisdom:  Ha.  Haha.  HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  When you’ve really messed up, apologize profusely; crawl on your knees in contrition.  Promise things you said you’d never do in order to earn forgiveness.  Say you’re sorry a million ways.   And mean it.

~~~~~~~~~~~

On a more serious note, just do your best.  It’s all anyone can do and it’s usually more than good enough.  Take every opportunity you can to laugh – nothing diffuses anger more quickly than a good one-liner.   Walk away when you need to walk away, but not for too long – make your way back together.   Bend, but don’t break.  Never give up the essence of who you are.

Most importantly – name your first born after your mother, even if it’s a boy (it’ll help him build character).

You two will be fine – you’re both awesome and funny and smart.

And loved.  Very much.

Congratulations and best of luck as you take your first steps together in this new chapter of your lives.

Love,

Mom

ps:  Tell Scott to call me Linda.  None of that bullshit about what to call the inlaws here, OK?  Promise?  I’m going to test him on that.  He won’t get away with “Hey, you…” or anything like that.

pps:  Maybe he already does call me by my name – I can’t recall what he calls me.  But now that I’ve drawn a line in the sand, I’ll be paying attention.

ppps:  Three days!!!

11 Comments on A letter to my firstborn daughter on the eve of her wedding

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Excellent advice!

  2. sassymonkey says:

    Hey! No one gave me any advice before I got married. Oh wait, they did. They told me to elope so we did and didn’t tell anyone. :lol:

  3. FireMom says:

    Oh my. This was perfect. I loved the laughing love is never having to say you’re sorry. What BS.

    You’re a great mom. Best of luck to Katie (and the groom man)!

  4. Katie says:

    I think we can probably skip over questions of marital intimacy. I distinctly remember looking at our copy of Where Did I Come From? You explained that other kids parents might not have shared that info yet so not to go spreading the word. I remember feeling important because I knew stuff that other kids didn’t. Even if the total of my knowledge amounted to the fact that I, in fact, came from a rotund cartoon couple with hair in places I didn’t understand. Suffice to say I’ve filled in the correct details in the 20 years since I’ve read that book. The book about periods that showed up around the age of 11 helped too.

    I remember announcing that I was the Last Virgin Standing, although I don’t remember asking for more condoms. I don’t blame 18-year-old-me though…that shit’s expensive and I had tequila to buy. If it makes you feel any better I bucked the usual college entrance experience and used them all with the same guy.
    In kind, I’ll share with you my takes on each of the traditional sentiments. You’re partially responsible for my warped thought process, so some credit must go to you.
    Traditional sentiment: Never go to bed angry.
    Kate wisdom: Stay up until 2:30am fighting. Whenever someone suggests going out to smoke a cigarette it means the fight is almost over. I don’t know how we’re going to know if a fight is over when we quit smoking.

    Traditional sentiment: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
    Kate wisdom: Absence makes me think there’s a murderer with a knife lurking around every corner. I can only imagine this feeling will be escalated when I have children that cannot use Scott’s sword to defend themselves like I can. I’d rather have them not sleeping through the night and drawing murals on the wall than cowering in a corner with me in fear of a branch rattling on a window.

    Traditional sentiment: Home is where the heart is.
    Kate wisdom: Sounds cute when cross-stitched onto a pillow, but in all reality my heart is where my couch, television, and laptop are. Which, lucky for us, is at home.

    Traditional sentiment: The best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.
    Kate wisdom: I also agree, but contrary to what The Beatles tell us, love is not all you need. While that may be an awesome gift I’d be a thousand times happier if it were coupled with parity in the relationship and an equal hand in all aspects of parenting. But there I go with my outlandish independent woman feminist bullshit again. I should shut my mouth and cook up a nice stew in the crock pot for dinner.

    Traditional sentiment: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
    Kate wisdom: Then Scott’s heart is a raging slut because all I make is macaroni and cheese with hotdogs and he’s still around. I’m pretty sure he’s cheating on me with his dad’s pork tenderloin.

    Traditional sentiment: Choose your battles.
    Kate wisdom: Boy, I freaking wish I could! Marriage is going to be the ultimate test of me keeping my God damned mouth shut. I’m hoping it’ll help me build up at least a little bit of a brain-to-mouth filter, because over the past 27 years very little else has. Although, Scott knows what he’s getting himself into…he knows that I don’t even have to have a particular stance of my own to argue against his point. Like the other day when he said that our thermostat will probably be twice as expensive to fix than to replace because there’s mercury in it. While he could be right, the avenues he chose to go down to support his argument (mercury is a metal so it’s cheaper/mercury is older than computer chips/the Freon used in the actual unit is the old kind/his mom had an electric one so they’re probably cheap) were enough to get me fired up. I digress. But hey, if he’s willing to marry into my love of “debate” then I better do it…who knows when there’s going to be another guy willing to accept that verbal gauntlet on a regular basis.

    Traditional sentiment: Honesty is the best policy.
    Kate wisdom: I agree most-heartedly. Most-heartedly rather than whole-heartedly because I work for a shoe company and he doesn’t seem to care that I get such an amazing discount. So because of his lack of interest (and the combination of our finances) I’m stuck sneaking shoes into the house. Things like that can go unsaid, right? As far as learning from your mistakes…I’ve never been good at that. I’ll just have to make my own and hope I still have a husband after I bitterly tell him that although I miss him when he’s out of town all week I freaking HAVE to get off the phone when we branch into such interesting topics as the lamp shade in his hotel room and which snacks he got from the gas station.

    Traditional sentiment: Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
    Kate wisdom: Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I can be a pretty contrary person and if it weren’t for my ability to apologize Scott and I would have been done long before now.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Scott and I’s relationships is one of the few things I’m willing to do my best at. You know that little family trait of trying to exert as little energy as possible while still getting the desired return? The only time that doesn’t apply is when it comes to people you love. It’s all fun and good when you spend most of your week days reading blogs yet still managing the same output as everyone else…but that doesn’t work in a relationship. It really helps that I thrive as part of a team and will go beyond my normal capacity because someone else’s well-being is at stake. I couldn’t do that without knowing that Scott’s desire for our relationship to flourish is as good as or better than mine. Honestly, I don’t know how he handles my bullshit and loves me on top of it. I love him for that and a million other reasons that are too mushy to put to paper.

    Thanks for everything. The wit and the wisdom, and everything in between. I love you and I can’t wait until Friday!!

    PS – I’m pretty sure he already calls you Linda. Or else he just pulls that sly move where he doesn’t ever use your name. But it’s been 5 years, so I’d think that would have worn off by now.

    PPS – I liked writing this…I just need to buckle down and get a damn blog already.

    • JustLinda says:

      Just start your blog already! hehe

      I don’t know where your fear of being home alone comes from, but I have a sure-fire remedy to cure you: 27 years of never getting to be home alone. That should do it. ;-)

    • Denise says:

      You should get a blog, Katie. You are funnier than your mom.

      (She paid me to say that so you’d get a blog.)

      (Not that she needs to pay me because she really is funny.)

      (Errr you’re funny too.)

      (Shit. I’m going back to work.)

      (Happy Patriarchy Day to you and your future husband.)

  5. Carrie Lynn says:

    Linda, looks like you might have some bloggy competition in your future ;)

    Fun read, both Linda and Katie!

  6. Julie says:

    Great advice and great advice retort! Please be sure to share Katie’s blog link once she gets up and going. The funny was definitely passed down on Linda’s side.

  7. Margaret says:

    Congratulations to the happy couple!

    Linda, I love your advice! And…it sounds like you’ve raised a helluva daughter…and she totally takes after you. Hope to see that blog addy soon!

    Best to you all,
    Margaret

  8. Somer says:

    Fantastic advice! Fantastic reply! The only advice I got from ANYBODY on my wedding day was, “Be careful when posing for outdoor pictures. The heels of your shoes sink right into the grass.” They were right :)

    Katie should totally get a blog of her own. She’s already got a lot of potential fans.

  9. [...] The Little Sally Walker post is still post I get the 2nd most traffic on, surpassed only by this post, which I think is mostly hilarious because of my daughter’s response in the [...]