It’s official: as of August 21 my baby girl (so okay, she’s not exactly a baby any more), became engaged to the man in her life, and I am destined to take on a new role. I am going to become a bad word, a word (made up of several words, mind you), that strikes terror into men around the globe, and that is ‘mother-in-law’! Yep, that’s right, I’m going to become the butt of husband jokes everywhere, the dreaded ‘wicked witch of the west’, the ‘surely my darling sweetheart won’t turn into her’, the ‘I can’t believe your mother is coming to visit us again’, person that makes grown men cry and women everywhere raise their arms in solidarity to those of us who carry the torch for them!
Thank goodness I’m cool, is all I can say. Thank goodness my future son-in-law likes me, or at least pretends to like me. Thank goodness I have a sense of humor and will be able to laugh at the odd reference to ‘the old bat’, the ‘where did she park her broom’, the ‘she’s staying HOW LONG’, that I’ll be hearing (or hearing about) over the next few years…
I will smile sweetly at the jokes, nod my head demurely at any references to crones and hags, and embrace my future son-in-law every chance I get, secure in the knowledge that I could cause this man ‘a heap of trouble’ if I so choose. After all, I knew my baby girl first: I changed her diapers and rocked her at night until she fell asleep in my arms; I bandaged her scraped knees and held a cold cloth against her fevered brow; I had the mother-daughter talk with her when her body began changing and she grew into a young woman; I cried with her when her first boyfriend broke her heart and when she realized the world wasn’t always going to work out the way she wanted it to. I have loved her since the moment she was born and I held her close to my breast, have loved her even when she was angry with me or upset with me and needed to show her independence; I have never stopped loving her in the almost thirty years since she entered this world and my life. She is my only daughter, my younger child, my little girl of whom I am so proud. She is my grown-up woman-girl with a life of her own, and I am honored that she loves me and wants to spend time with me whenever she can. I love her friends and I love her fiancee, and I consider myself to be one lucky woman in so many ways.
I knew she was getting engaged before she did; that Saturday her soon-to-be fiancée spoke to me privately while she was in the cottage helping prepare supper. He asked for my blessing to marry my daughter, and I thought that was sweet of him, and oh, so old-fashioned. He also spoke to my son that night, asking his blessing. Of course, both my son and I said yes, as we know how close this man and my daughter are and can feel the love between them. The moment was bittersweet, however, and I confess that I shed many tears that day and the next because my husband wasn’t with us to share in the happy news. I know that Gary would have given his blessing as well, would have warned Geoff that he’d better be a good husband to our daughter, and that he would have ended with, “Congratulations–why should YOU be happy?” when he shook Geoff’s hand and pulled him close for a ‘manly’ hug. Even now I smile when I think of what Gary would have said and how happy he would have been that our daughter found happiness in this world with a man she loves.
The wedding is at least a year away, because my daughter wants to finish her Masters in Library and Information Science before she ties the knot, and the graduate school she’s attending is in one province and her fiancée is in another, so being together right now is next-to impossible. She heads back to Ontario tomorrow and won’t be home until her Christmas break, and she has so much on her plate for the next eight months that I’m sure wedding plans will have to be moved to the ‘ back-burner’. But late at night, when she is in bed and trying to fall asleep, I know she will think of next summer, of how she wants her hair to be, and what her dress will look like, and who she will have attending the ceremony, and she will smile even though her heart will be pounding and her pulses racing.
I hope she doesn’t stress too much. I hope she enjoys the ride this next year. I hope she savors every moment she has as a bride-to-be, and I hope she always knows how much her father and I love her and want her to be happy. I can even handle being a ‘mother-in-law’ if these other hopes come true.
But please don’t ask me where I parked my broom! Cause it will show up in a place you least expect it, and you may not be happy about that! Just saying.