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.
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.
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!!!