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Mommy Musings - The “I Do’s” And “I Don’ts”

POSTED October 5, 2010 11:32 p.m.
Planning a wedding is not for the faint at heart.
It has been 20 years since I stood at the front of a church and pledged my commitment to my husband. Since then, little has changed when it comes to getting married.
Sure, dresses have fewer crystals and are sleeker, elegance has been redefined. Regardless of the decade or the trend, a bride is still a bride.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize everyone has their own ideas when it comes to what their fairy tale is. By ‘fairy tale,’ of course, I mean the coveted wedding day.
Some spend their whole life dreaming about it. Pretending as little girls to marry their Prince Charming, while others (such as myself) never give it a second thought.
Then of course there are the ‘fairy tales,’ that do not always have happy endings and ultimately end in divorce. It’s a hard lesson to live through. You celebrate your union with another person at a grand affair, surrounded by all you know and love. It’s the perfectly presented package complete with a big bright red bow and then you wake up.
By ‘wake up,’ I mean that literally. The pomp and circumstance have gone to the wayside. The honeymoon is over, the presents are put away in their respective places and you realize — I cannot stand the way he chews his food.
Well, typically it’s something bigger than that, but you get the picture.
The great thing about life is that it truly is a Chapter Book. So for the bride who woke to discover her dream was in fact a nightmare, there is always the next chapter.
Case in point — a few friends and I met for coffee a few weeks ago. The dynamic of this friendship is actually pretty wonderful. The two friends I met with are actually mother and daughter. The mother (also known as my sister in spirit) has been a dear friend and mentor mom for close to a decade.  Her eldest daughter has now grown in to a lovely woman herself and of course we too are great friends.
For the purpose of the story we will refer to this mother and daughter as M’Lynn and Shelby.
Shelby (the daughter) has lived that bad chapter and of course if happened when she was young and knew everything. But, her mother walked a similar path and learned from it as well.
Now that’s the bad news.
The good news is they have both gone on to great new chapters. For the mother, ‘M’Lynn’ it came in a wonderful man, whom would adopt ‘Shelby’ as his own and together he and ‘M’Lynn’ would have two more beautiful children.
Now, it’s ‘Shelby’s’ turn for her next chapter, as she plans a small wedding to a man she feels was placed here just for her. While, this will be her second wedding, it is her fiancés first. This of course makes things a bit complicated.
Like most situations, which involve a bride and groom, it is not complicated for them, but for the family. His family, to be more exact.
Shelby and her groom would rather have a small service and an unbelievable honeymoon, a chance in a lifetime vacation, to be more precise.
With just a few months left before the big day, ‘Shelby’ shared her excitement and her frustration as she deals with the disappointment of her future in-laws.
Of course the disappointment is in a passive aggressive form, which is rarely detected by the male and never lost on the female.
So, why is it that as one plans their perfect union, they can become so affected by so many other factors?
In my untrained opinion, it’s simple — it’s family. For those of us raised and nurtured in a supportive family, we are always thinking of them. When you join with another, you also join with their family.
‘For better, or worse,’ need not only apply to the couple. It is after all a package deal, which goes both ways.  Marriage is compromise and often you will learn it must extend beyond your own hearth.
These are lessons I shared with ‘Shelby.’ They were lessons I honestly did not learn myself, until oddly enough, I became a mother.
I reevaluate situations more often now that I have a lifelong attachment to a person other than my husband. It’s different when you have a child. As my bond would grow with my son and my challenges with my in-laws, I found myself thinking, ‘What type of mother in-law will I be?’
Will my mother-in-law ever be my best friend? No, she won’t but her son sure is. Will I always agree with her and think she knows best? No, but 20 years later I think on it a little more, before making judgment.
It all gets back to compromise. Age teaches you, that compromise is not defeat. Compromise is what you do when you love someone enough to listen. Compromise is what you do, when you realize you are not the only one in the room. Compromise ultimately is the best way to achieve peace.
It took 10 years of struggle, before I realized the value of compromise. Compromise is what you do, when you are the grown-up.
Compromise in the end is what helps take the Chapter Book and turn it into a beautiful Novel.
‘Shelby’s’ Novel is one I look forward to reading.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at thammond@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.
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