|My Wedding Day, 1999. Photography by Todd Plitt.|
My Mom didn't really dole out too many pearls of wisdom.
Growing up, what passed for motherly advice was more like her shouting the obvious at a speeding car. And, yes, that speeding car would be me.
"Don't do it!"
I don't know if she meant to say more to me. I was too impatient to sit still as she struggled to express herself in English--which was not her first language. Life was passing me by and my Mom was in the way.
When it came to matters of the heart, my Mom had a lot of opinions that were not necessarily expressed through words. A withering look, a cluck of her tongue, and tightly wound but polite exchanges were often the tell-tale signs of her feelings of disapproval about the boys that streamed in and out of my life. But there were a lot of boys rather than men, so the chance of my heart getting broken was not much of a concern for either her or my Dad. They were more worried about my--eh, hem--virtue.
When I fell in love for the first time, it was to a man that shared too many things from my past and present. I will only say that our relationship was intense, overwhelming, and bound for failure from the start. During the 2 plus years we were together, my Mom endured my stupid mistakes and thoughtless choices. I put this man before everything else. She witnessed my demise, but said nothing. At the time, I thought that she didn't understand or care, and swept it under the rug with the remnants of that volatile period in my life.
When I did fall in love again, I learned that she did perceive the folly of that first love. On the day I formally introduced Dave to my family, my Mom pulled me aside said this to me: "the man has to love you more. You can't love him more. And then when you get married, it should always be equal." Her one pearl of wisdom was a brief 3 sentences after which she looked at me expectantly, searchingly. My response was to laugh, which left her puzzled. So I gave her a hug, which softened her expression somewhat. "Don't worry about me," I said to her. "I got this one." When we announce our engagement a year later, the relief that came across my Mom's face was almost comical. And it was her turn to laugh--a riotous, belly laugh that made all the years of worrying about me disappear.
I hope that my own daughter is not as impetuous as I was regarding matters of the heart. But I'll hang on to this pearl of wisdom, just in case.