Tag Archive | wedding plans

Wedding Plans and Fran the Cow

So, you met Fran in the last post.  She called me the other day to announce that her son and DIL were expecting a child.  What wonderful news!  Ed and Gina had waited until the dangers of the first trimester of pregnancy had passed before making any announcement to family or friends.  This seems to be quite common these days.  Fran exclaimed her frustration with the fact that during the 10 days she had recently spent with her son and DIL, they had not once leaked their secret.  10 days!  That’s a long time to keep one’s lips sealed while in the presence of interested parties.  They also did not take advantage of the opportunity to ascertain the sex of the unborn child.  This is not a common thing to do these days.  Fran is perplexed!

But, let’s scroll back a few years to the planning of Ed and Gina’s wedding.  Here’s another one of Fran’s stories as she weaves a bit of fun into a serious message and situation.

In the case of each son & DIL, Fran had nothing to do with the wedding preparations.  On this occasion, it was intentional.  I voiced my opinion that the whole “Planning the Wedding” thing was a social minefield that I had not expected.  She chose not to navigate it, but to fly over in a helicopter, so to speak.  Early on in the process, Fran looked Gina square in the eye and held her shoulders as she spoke.

“Gina, this is your day.  You need to have the wedding that you’ve always dreamed of.  I will not make any demands upon you … except for one thing.”

As Fran tells it, the expression on Gina’s face went from one of ease to wariness.  What was this soon-to-be MIL going to say next?  And did she really have to accede to this woman’s demands?

“What is it?” Gina asked.Priscilla the Cow

“I want Fran the Cow to walk you down the aisle.”

Well, Gina just burst our laughing.  Turns out that Gina’s family lives on and operates a dairy farm and they had named one of the cows after Ed’s mother after the engagement was announced.  (Cows are people, too, you know!)  So, when Gina heard Fran’s request, she knew that her future MIL was joking and was, in a way, poking fun at the stereotypical MIL who regularly demands that things be done her way or there will be trouble to pay!

Fran went on to talk a bit more about her relationship with Gina.

“You mentioned that you had thought that a relationship with your DIL would be easy.  And in my case, it really was – very easy, very natural”

“To what do you attribute that?  You’ve probably never thought about it” I suggested.

Her answer:  “Gina.  Gina is very easygoing and sweet and nice and perfect.  As a matter of fact, I always talk about her in glowing terms.  A lot of people make comments saying ‘Wow!  I’ve never heard of a MIL speaking so highly about a DIL!’  They are so surprised that I have that relationship with her.”

“In general, it seems quite … um…would you say “fashionable” to complain” I interjected.

“Exactly!  Think about all the MIL jokes” replied Fran with a wry smile.

“I’ve wondered where those all come from and I haven’t really figured it out” I mused.

“Oh, I’m sure they come from experience because … ” Fran sat back and looked at the space above my head for a moment, lost in thought.  Then, she went on to tell about her experience as a DIL.

But, that’s for another post.

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One of my “take-aways”?

Fran had taken advantage of a critical opportunity to communicate to Gina in a humorous way that she would do her best to not be the overbearing, insensitive, interfering,  MIL that is the butt of innumerable jokes and the cause for endless eye-rolling and broken relationships.  Did she learn this from her experience with her own MIL?  Yes … and no.  More on that next week.

What are your “take-aways” from this story?

Got a good story of your own to tell?  Let me know!

 

 

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Over a Bowl of Fruit at Sammy J’s (part 2)

Bonnie and I continued our conversation as we nibbled on chunks of pineapple, plump, sweet blueberries and red, ripe strawberries at Sammy J’s Breakfast Cafe.  She was sharing her experience with her soon-to-be MIL.

Hmmm … curious.  Had she recognized before the engagement that Matt’s mother might not welcome her into the family?

“Bef-euro-diamond-engagement-ring-platinumore we (Matt & I)became engaged, I was a friend of the family.  I had dinners with them, participated in activities with them.  No one really took our relationship seriously.  I think they knew it was coming, but denial is a beautiful thing!”  She again broke into laughter.

She and Matt had dated for two years and when she became his fiancée, things picked up speed.  In the short three months between engagement and wedding, “there was an epic battle.”

“Over what?” I asked.

“The wedding … where we would live … everything!  I yielded on the things that I didn’t care about – like what dresses the bridesmaids would wear.  Have your way!”

The blender whirred in the background and I imagined fruit, milk and honey being blended into a lip-smacking smoothie.  Blending… smoothie … The situation Bonnie described was an example of neither and I pondered how I might have reacted were I “in her shoes.”

“Your attitude was basically “Do whatever you want?” I offered.bridesmaids dresses

“Yeah.  And she did.  His mom planned the whole wedding.”

Matt’s sister chose the bridesmaids’ dresses.

“Yeah, and she let me pick the color.”

Bonnie had wanted a small, intimate ceremony and reception, but that was not to be.

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It could easily be argued that a bride and groom should be the ones to plan the details of their own wedding.  At the same time, I recognized that Bonnie had employed that wise principle of “choosing one’s battles.”   “Do you really need to ‘die on that hill’?”my husband would ask me when we were raising our two sons.  “Can you let go of this issue and allow them to do it “their way?”

I never knew a battle that I didn’t want to fight to the finish.  … But, that’s not wisdom.  Bonnie, on the other hand, must have realized that, to have any kind of a chance of a decent relationship in the future,  she would need to allow her MIL some “say” in the matters about which she felt strongly.  And there were many.

Is this one factor in fostering a great MIL/DIL relationship?   Yielding to another for the sake of peace?  Sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no”.  And for soon-to-be-MILs:   Whose “day” is it, anyway?  It’s your son, but it’s their wedding – one of the biggest days of their lives.   Is there any good reason for demanding, manipulating, and otherwise overruling the wishes of the two to be wed?  Wisdom suggests a different course of action: open communication, honest conversations, and a cooperative approach – no matter who’s paying for it.  This is an event that will be remembered by all for many, many years to come.  And it often sets the tone for the future MIL/DIL relationship.