Requiem for the Mother of the Bride

Leave a comment Standard
Emotions of the mother of the bride

When you hear the word “requiem”, you always think death.  But in death, there is new life.  As the last chords of the requiem for the Mother of the Bride plays, a new life is indeed born.  Welcome, Mother-in-Law.

Brighid and Brent Wedding Day

Our new family portrait

Admittedly, I was never comfortable with my own Mother-in-Law.  She was kind on one hand, but with each kindness, there were strings or clauses.  She spent much of the first 24 years of my marriage making me feel guilty whenever I would spend time with my own parents, even in my mother’s final days.  I hung in so long trying to be a “good” daughter-in-law, because I thought that anything I did to alienate her would cause my children to lose their grandmother’s affection.  It turns out that that affection had its own variety of strings.

As a Mother of the Bride, everything is planning and parties and fun.  You get to pick out flowers and help choose gowns.  You taste food, eat cake, and drink champagne.

As a Mother-in-Law, it’s all stress and worry about not interfering but not coming off as uncaring.  It’s about not trying to impose our family’s traditions (and baggage) on someone else’s child.  It’s about making someone else’s child feel all the feels your own kids feel – without making them feel like they betray their own parents to do so.

Emotions of the mother of the bride

Not losing a daughter, gaining a son

When the mother of the bride gig is over, the real work kicks in.  Gone is the woman whose biggest stress was losing 40 pounds or finding Spanx built to make it look like she did.  She has been replaced by the woman who wants her new son to know we don’t as much need him to “fit in” as much as we need to be accepted.

I will miss the Mother of the Bride.  She served her purpose for 18 months, saw her aspirations fulfilled, and left a legacy of merriment that will be long remembered.

I am intimidated by this Mother-in-Law, and I pray I don’t screw up the role too terribly.

Care Packages for your College Kid

Comment 1 Standard

You’ve just brought your college student to school either for the first time or as a return student.  The tears have finally dried on Mom’s face, as she leaves her baby behind; and the tears are nearly dried on Dad’s face, as the sting of the tuition bill becomes a fading memory. 

Especially if your child is away for the first time, they’re going to want to know that they’re loved, thought about and missed. Plus, they’re going to be hungry and homesick at least part of the time.  Care packages are a great way to remedy both of those things!

When our oldest daughter, Brighid, went to college for the first time, we tried to send monthly packages.  As soon as we dropped her off, we went home and put together a package of things we thought she’d miss from home.  We’re just outside of Philadelphia, so Brighid’s package included things like Tastykakes, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, some Termini’s bakery Italian cookies, and a fuzzy warm Flyers sweatshirt. You can send your child a bedtime kiss – a care package containing a pair of comfy pajamas, the latest on the best seller list, and a box of hot chocolate.  If your child loves your homemade cookies (my kids don’t have a mom that bakes or cooks, so my kids will never miss home cooked stuff!), bake a batch and send them. 

Holidays were great opportunities for care packages.  For each holiday my daughter was away from home, we filled a box with holiday themed paper plates, napkins, cups, and a few decorations for her room.  We’d throw in holiday boxed cake mixes and frosting, holiday themed candies or snacks, and a holiday coffee mug or candy dish.  It not only helped her get a taste of home, but it allowed her to invite friends over to celebrate with her.  Don’t forget to include a gift card for Domino’s to complete the party!

Seasonal care packages were always welcome. When the summer breezes finally give way to a fall chill, pack a box with some Ginger Snap cookies and a selection of tea bags.  Winter can be a great time to send your college student some new gloves, a hat, and a scarf – maybe in school colors.  When the spring thaw comes, send a bouquet of beautiful spring flowers.

Care packages are a great place to put gift cards your college kid might need.  WalMart gift cards allow them to pick up toiletries, some groceries, or cleaning supplies (stop laughing).  Also appreciated are gift cards for special treats – Starbucks, Applebee’s (or other chain restaurants), or the movie theater.  Oh, and don’t forget those cram for exam care packages – fill those with coffee, chocolate, snacks, and maybe some energy drinks!

We found that care packages eased the pain of separation anxiety – for both us and our college kid.  It makes Mom and Dad feel like they’re still needed, and it makes your college kid feel like they are still part of the family (even though their younger sisters have redecorated their room in Sponge Bob posters and claimed it as their own).  It’s like getting a big hug from home.  And who doesn’t  need a big hug now and then?