My son headed back to college last weekend for what will (hopefully) be his last year. Over the summer, he traveled three different weekends to either see his girlfriend or attend various weddings of friends. After the first weekend jaunt to see the girlfriend, he came home, sat me down and said, “I’m sure.”
I’d like to be able to say I have no idea what he’s sure about, but that would be a lie. He’s sure about his girlfriend. He’s sure that she is the one for him. Sitting here at the age of 50, I remember the feeling of knowing the person sitting next to you on the couch was the one for life. The other thing I know at the age of 50 is how the same person can be sitting on the couch next to you and you question how much judgment you really had at the age of 22.
So my son is sure: Which leaves me looking at having to buy the dreaded beige dress in a few years time. And I am not ready to wear beige or any other color or style of dress which will identify me as the mother of the groom. This feeling has nothing to do with whether I like the girlfriend (I do like her very much) or any questions about my son’s being ready to take a step like this in the next couple of years. It has everything to do with the fact that I am not ready to be a woman of a certain age. I am not ready to be a mother-in-law. I am not ready to have a married child.
But now it will not be up to me to determine when I acquire my latest identity. Over the years I’ve acquired a lot of different labels which defined me. I’ve been a college student, a bride, a working woman, a mom, a working mom, a business owner, and so on. But with all of these identities, it was my decision to undertake a new persona. With these latest personas I am facing, it is not up to me to choose when I will transform into a mother-in-law or a grandmother. It will be at a time of my children’s choosing. And to fight it or complain seems to me to be churlish and selfish. They are my children. If I have done my job right, they will make the right decisions. And part of doing my job right is to free them to make these decisions.
But deep down inside, I am not ready to be anyone but who I am right now.