The Mother-Daughter In-Law Dance

I’m a mother in-law “in waiting”. And as much as I don’t want it to be an anxious feeling, it is. Mi hijo, found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Heavy sigh, cómo van a cambiar las cosas. Change is good Rosie. Sabes? They’re a good looking couple. She captured his heart and they are now an engaged couple

.…Y ahora que? Well, I’ve got my ticket to board that wedding planning roller coaster ride, suddenly, time is upon us. When they give the green light for all of us to jump in and help plan, we will. Apurate hijo! Ben said, “Wow! It’s been 10 years since our last weddings” Hijole

When You Know That You Know

Once a couple” knows,” you would think that everyone would just smoothly adjust to their sweet love and choices. Usually a couple gets giddy with fairy tales happily ever after dreams and they walk into their “revelation” expecting everyone to come for the ride. Pero pues, it’s a mixture of emotions for anyone securely connected. Emotions need to be worked out and checked as the couple prepares for their destiny.

While I’m waiting for my wedding planning assignements, come with me as I walk through some days of my early engagement days, before the wedding planning: 

Comprometida! 

Ben and I got engaged and went to share the wonderful news with my parents. No wedding plans in mind, just the realization that we would always be one. “Hijole!” My apa said to my gringo fiancee, as he put our arms next to each other “ Do you see what color she is?” I had already crossed that hurdle. It was a pretty hard hurdle to jump, es que, I was nervous. I was scared to death about marrying outside of mi gente, but after 2 years of praying and my Benjamin waiting somewhat patiently, I knew that I knew that God was for a Greene/Zepeda union so I said yes, yes, yes to his proposal. My apa’s question made me nervous but Ben, the man of few words, said “Yes, I do and I like it.” My apa watched us through the years and saw the steady man his son in-law was and he was relieved that our skin color truly didn’t matter to either of us. 

In that same visit, I look back and thank God for mi ama, who didn’t ask what the plan was, who didn’t fret just then about my wedding day. Primero, she needed to see how this young man would handle a strong Latina woman. She did as was her custom, and invited him to the table for a meal and when Ben sat down to eat she served him. He enjoyed his food, and she watched as she heated las tortillas. Maybe he was alright, at least he knew not to reject her. She offered seconds, and my flaco hungrily said yes! And that was enough, my ama liked my gringo.

For most of our engagement I was alone. Esperate! Ben didn’t ask me to marry him and ignore me. Es que, he was also committed to the U.S. Navy, so my sailor went out to sea. As a newly engaged girl I was a mess! Lonely for my Benjamin and not sure what direction to go as far as getting ready for my wedding day. My maid of honor set me straight when she could no longer watch me go in circles. Thank God for maid of honors, they are your confidants, your helpers, your doers in that busy season.

Ben had already told his mother about his Mexican-American girlfriend, so very soon after we were engaged and I was sad about Ben being away, I received a letter from my future suegra. My husband takes after her, he displays little, muy poquita emoción!  Her letter calmly welcomed me into her family and she said she looked forward to meeting me! Hijole! How do you respond to that? All kinds of questions came up in my head. What would she think? Did she know, like really know that I was brown? Ben had asked me if I would write a letter to her and he also asked if I would send a picture of myself! But I hadn’t, I just couldn’t, then I got her letter. Now I had to respond. I needed to rush and get a picture taken. In those days, we had to go to the photo studio, so Colleen, my bestie, my maid of honor suggested that I wear a nice bright shirt, a pink one! She assured me that it complimented my nice coloring. Que?! Sheesh, I had it all wrong then.

I got through the very difficult first letter just in time to start my wedding planning and started a nice letter writing friendship with my suegra to be. 

En Conclusion:
As I’m remembering these days of my engagement, I think of Emerys sweet girl and pray that God will help me to be a blessing to her now, before the wedding day. Y que Dios me los bendiga as they plan, on that day and all the days of their marriage journey.

Seasons of Life – The Next Chapter of Motherhood

One Life Transition at a Time

I am pro marriage. I’m pro marrying at a young age. You know, where a young man can experience life with the wife of his youth. We married young (sort of, though not as young as our kids).
Having a good marriage, a good husband and beautiful kids, I should have leaped at the chance to see my own children experience marriage like us, in God’s path. I did not. When love came courting our two adult kids I wanted to pull our welcome mat inside. Maybe because I was still adjusting to parenting adult children. Maybe because I loved our crazy, cozy family of six, (my goodness! I was barely adjusting to my first born being “Mr. Independent” Isn’t there a rule in life that says “one life transition at a time”?). I was afraid of the unknown, that fear is a part of life and you face it, right? But the rejection I perceived, that was a different demon. Love’s sweet song came and it screamed at me.

I would be forgotten

This winter marks ten years of our children marrying and starting their own families, apart from me. (My daughter would say “Not ten mom. I’ve been married nine years”). Pero, I’m counting the year before, when they made a choice for their life partner and marriage. Facing the reality that my two older children were gonna leave me and embrace another family was wrenching! (I was so emotional, some would say que exagerada! but the loss I felt was no exaggeration) I ached at the thought that when they married into “the other family” I would be forgotten, an afterthought. Listen, I want you to feel me here, please. My son (our first born) was getting married at the end of January 2012 and then the following week my daughter (our only daughter) would marry.

Two Weddings, Two Bridal Showers and Two Rehearsal Dinners

The public display of engagements rocked my world as they declared their love and commitment. I entered into work and planning mode. The details of both weddings overwhelmed me in one sense but kept me from melting down in another. Two weddings, two bridal showers, two rehearsal dinners. I pressed in.

A problem with the venue? Sorted out. A problem finding the most beautiful dress in San Diego? Mission accomplished! A mix up with the invitations? Fixed. Favors? Agreed upon. Feeding the 200 guests? No problem. An issue with the mother of the groom? (wait! that was me) An issue with the mother of the bride? (Also me). As the wedding mines exploded (Man, issues came up even throughout the wedding day!), we navigated through the rubble and put on two simple (HA! not in my eyes) and sweet weddings with two beautiful brides and dashing grooms.

Then life stopped moving, both my kids were gone. The whirlwind had settled and we were left with the guests, their noisy congratulations and the clean up. While I was unraveling I couldn’t see my Benjamin’s sad heart (Which is usually hard to do with quiet, in control people anyway) until I heard it.

Who Gives This Woman to be Married…

My husband, Steady Eddie (I call him a cold blooded Englishman, because he seems so unmoved and unemotional most times ) was giving his only daughter away to another man. I had teased him through the years of raising our daughter about him loving another girl. She was the apple of his eye and I saw how much he cherished her.
Ben tried to prepare himself for the part of the ceremony of “who gives this woman to be married to this man”. He searched for a song that would declare his heart and found the country song “I loved her first”. This is how he was going to give her to her new love. He would publicly declare his love and release her. (What?! such a public display of emotion) I wondered if he would go through with it.

On that February morning I saw just how difficult this give away was for him. When our pastor asked, “Who gives this woman (que woman! our little girl!) to be married to this man?”

I Loved Her First

Ben stood up and walked to the front of the pulpit and before all guests he sang . My unemotional husbands voice cracked as he quietly sang “I loved her first, I held her first, and a place in my heart will always be hers…” and it seemed like everyone in the room ached with him. I had been so busy trying to survive, that I never looked over at Daniella’s daddy until he gave her away.

When it was all over, we entered another stage of our lives and we moved toward adjusting to the quietness of our home. Now, I could see that we all (my two little boys felt her absence as well) were feeling a void. I wrote this as I relived my Benjamins part in his daughter’s ceremony:

Bens Little Love

Ben wanted a daughter; so sweet and soft.

Ben held his breath, he hoped and he prayed.

He peered at his baby, a wee little girl.

Immediately a new kind of love forged between

father and daughter as he held her first.

His eyes bright with awe as he looked at this bundle

Sweet little mouth, tiny little hands, wispy strands of hair

She wanted momma, and he patiently waited

She wanted up and he anxiously lifted her

She wanted more and he graciously gave it.

What a pleasure it was to give to his daughter

She took all that he gave

Our sweet handmaid had eyes only for him

Then one day, she grew up and loved another

He loved her so much, he must step out of the way

She still was his princess, always his princess

Ben’s Princess Remains…

After a decade, the three beautiful little grand-princesses prancing around us have brought joy to us for sure, but it is quite evident that Ben’s princess remains in her place within his heart. By the way, she’s giving back now. Three beautiful grandsons (I know I should describe them as handsome, but to Ama, they’re also beautiful!)