Sunday, January 2, 2011

Broken Hearted but Not Surprised

**Update**  Over the last few months I've continued to talk candidly with my mother about our relationship, including what role she'd like to play in our wedding.  She recently came out to visit me and will be doing so again at least once this summer, and we even went dress shopping together!  She's also helping with several wedding crafts, and I couldn't be more grateful for her help and her support.  Our relationship has been hard-fought, but it's so worth it.

Mr. NM and I just returned from my hometown in Georgia, where we spent our first Christmas together... with my entire extended family.  (Side note: It totally snowed on Christmas day.  Perfection!)

{at my grandparents' house}

All in all, it was a good trip.  Probably better than I had expected, at least when it came to Mr. NM being there and meeting the family.  Everyone was really nice and welcoming, and any awkwardness was blissfully minimal.  The part I wasn't prepared for was how much my mom would talk about wedding stuff - the engagement party she hosted for my cousin E, the shower she went to for my cousin M, and the multiple engagement/shower/church parties she's hosted for my cousin E.  (Before you ask, yes we have a large family.  There are 14 grandchildren on my mom's side and from mid-2008 to end of 2011 there will have been 6 weddings).  All this talk of how much she's done for my cousins' weddings highlights, for me at least, how little she's doing for mine.
Before I go on, let me just be clear that I love my mom to pieces.  I think we've both worked really hard over the last two years or so to improve our relationship.  Now we talk more frequently than we have in a long time and we genuinely enjoy spending time together when we do get to see each other.  All of this hard work has gone a long way toward bridging the chasm that exists between her life and mine, but it's impossible at times not to feel how much distance still lies between us.  I'm not sure how she would explain this distance, so I'm certainly not going to try to speak for her.  I can only say that, from my perspective, religion (and corresponding lifestyle) is the primary factor that keeps us from connecting in a more meaningful way. 

My mom is a fundamentalist, evangelical Southern Baptist woman to her very core.  I know she loves me.  I also know that it's very hard for her to reconcile her faith with the realities of my life.  Because of this, I think she's less excited, less curious, and less involved in my life - and that includes the wedding.  Suffice it to say, Mr. NM and I have no worries about dealing with an overbearing mother of the bride.  In fact, sometimes I wish for an overbearing, over-involved mother.  But I'm sure this is one of those "grass is always greener" kind of things...

So yeah, I know this about my mom.  I spend a lot of time trying to ensure my expectations are realistic, and I think I generally do a pretty good job of not setting myself up for disappointment.  Yet still sometimes it's harder than others.  When I see the remnants of the backyard barbecue-style engagement party she hosted at our house for my cousin.  When people tell me about how great it was to plan a shower with her.  When she casually talks about attending other people's wedding events without asking about ours.  Or even when I watch Say Yes to the Dress and the mother of the bride is always there for the dress shopping experience.  Those little moments add up to some pretty significant heartbreak sometimes.  But the heartbreak is not new for me, nor is it particularly surprising.  And at this point in my life I can bounce back pretty quick.  I've learned to be resilient, to be independent.  That said, I wish sometimes for a bit more interdependence with my mom, especially when it comes to the wedding.  *le sigh*

Is there anyone you wish would be more involved with your wedding?  How do you deal with it when they're not as involved as you'd like them to be?

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