The double edged sword of learning to detach...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by ThreeShadows, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Twenty three years ago I got a phone call that twin preemie boys needed a home. In a flash, I completely bypassed the fact that they were still babies and I became immediately inebriated by the kowledge that one day I would have 2 daughters-in-law! That's how desperate I was for family contact with females.

    I recently got a call from difficult child 2 telling me that he was getting married in October and that his fiancée wanted me to come up some time and "help with the wedding". Well, I've never been an organizer, only 12 people were at our humble wedding and only 3 are still on Earth. So, when pressed, difficult child 2 said "she wants you to be there when she is shopping for the dress". I immediately thought "oh, Lord! She wants me to pay for her dress!".

    In a way, I hate that I have lost that trusting innocence. My ability to feel spontaneous joy is gone. Cynicism is an awful thing.
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    3S, I watch "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC whenever I can find it. It's not unusual for the future mother in law to be invited to the dress shopping expedition without any expectation that she will pay for it. It's usually just a fun bonding time for the family and bride-to-be.

    I hope she doesn't have any ulterior motives and that it can be a good experience for everyone.

  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Thank you, Suz, I didn't know that (foreigner you know...).

    I would be less suspicious if I hadn't told him that I would pay half the dental bill if he got his broken molar fixed. He called me up and the first words out of his mouth were "how much do you love me?". That's always a bad sign, LOL!!! He had been to an office which offers free exams and x-rays (not a good idea, now he does not own x-rays and cannot use them for a second opinion). Dentist told him he needed a scraping, a root planing, three crowns and root canals, ten fillings. This kid is only 23! The dentist scared the Hades out of him, told him he would start losing his teeth and that it would only cost $6,000.00 to take care of his problems!!! All I had offered was to pay half of one broken tooth.

    I might add that he inherited $62,000.00 from my mother's estate Jan. 2009. I suspect it's all gone now.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    It's quite possible for a 23 year old to need this much work, especially if (root planing is called for) there's been a history of dental neglect.

    That said, you offered to pay half the costs of dealing with ONE tooth. That's it. He's an adult and you have no legal obligation to pay for this care. If you chose to, or chose to pick up part of it, that is your own decision.

    Mouths don't get into this sort of shape in a couple of years. It takes years of not caring for them. This sounds to me like a possible test case for detachment, in my opinion
  5. I was probably 2 words from finished a delightfully long response... when the power cut off and I was kicked off the computer! lol!!!

    That's one way to edit!

    Condensed version...

    Now is a great time to speak with your husband to determine exactly what (if anything at all) you will (joyfully,without going in debt) contribute to your son's wedding!

    If together you decide you want to contribute something other than a wrapped "surprise" gift to be presented at the wedding, and you'd like to help out with something, for example: flowers, or, hosting rehearsal dinner, or ceremony music or reception music... whatever... (limited only by what will not put you in debt!) you and your husband can notify your son and his fiance as soon as you've come to peaceful agreement exactly what (if any) "gift" you are choosing to bless the happy couple with for their wedding celebration.

    As you are aware from your dentist example, the concept of "half" on anything can be a very dangerous thing! You might say, "Your father and I have decided we'd like to give the gift of music for your reception with a limit of $250.00!"

    If they respond with an ungrateful "We'll never be able to afford a 7 piece band and motivational dance instructors with that little money!" You can either respond by saying...

    "oh? are you refusing our gift? I'm sorry to hear that!"


    "You may have to settle for a DJ who is just starting out!"


    "The two of you are welcome to add whatever money you can save up to that amount to hire the music you've always dreamed you'd have at your reception!"

    ...depending on your mood. ;)

    It is a great exercise for an engaged couple to plan a big dream event (like their wedding) on the reality of how much money is in their budget. These are awesome skills that will help them be successful in marriage!

    Don't be swayed by your difficult child's or his fiance's tantruming and pouting 'cause they're not getting their way on their day.

    Like Suz, I've seen the show "Say Yes to the Dress" and there appears to be a "new" tradition forming inspired by that show that shopping for the gown is a large bonding session for the bridesmaids, female family members and future mother-in-law.

    Warning if you choose to dial into that show... be aware the "low/average" wedding gown price is soooo unrealistic for most brides!!!! That show portrays $5000 to be the "low end" of budgets on that show! insane!!!! (or is it genius? lol! the store featured is trying to sell gowns for as much money as they possibly can get!!!)

    Just last year Target stores online offered wedding gowns by designer Isaac Mizrahi starting at $99.

    JC Penny's used to offer wedding catalogs. They don't have them any more, but I looked online they are offering a select few wedding gowns on clearance.

    I'm not suggesting that $100. is the sane range for wedding gowns!!!

    My point is that people who REALLY want to get married to each other will be happy in a $2. thrift-store gown if that is all they can afford!

    Don't feel for a minute that if you don't give them their way on anything you'll ruin their marriage!!!!!!!!

    There is no tradition that says the groom's mother should buy the wedding gown!!!!!!!!!!!

    Even if you read wedding books/magazines/e-zines regarding "who pays for what" those articles have ALWAYS been suggestion... not a hard/fast rule.

    I encourage you to go full steam ahead with what you and your husband would LOVE to provide... and don't do anything that you "feel you should!"

    We set our wedding date 2.5 years in advance. My parent's let us know early what they intended to pay for. My husband and I worked so much overtime to save up for the rest it seemed at times that we hardly saw each other before the wedding!

    My husband's Dad died 6 months before our wedding. He had been sick a long time. husband his mom and his whole family were devastated by the loss. We gladly contributed our honeymoon savings to help pay for funeral expenses. At that time "the experts" said that it is "tradition" for the groom's parent's to host the rehearsal dinner. My husband and I took our bridesmaids and groomsmen out for pizza after the rehearsal... our treat. We had a great time. We were within our budget. Those were our nearest and dearest friends.... they certainly understood!

    This year my husband and I celebrate 27 years of wedded bliss!!!

    You and your husband are evidence that a marriage can go strong for 36+ years with small beginnings of 12 guests celebrating your wedding!!!!

    Don't get caught up in emotion, or guilted into doing more than you and your husband would joyfully want to!


    Enjoy bonding with your new daughter-in-law!!!!!!

    ... okay... I don't think that's shorter than the message that the electricity cut off!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I got married in a dress borrowed from an aunt, and wearing a full veil and headpiece made by my great aunt who was also a seamstress. She did the re-sizing on the dress as well.

    I think the whole thing ran about 75 dollars out of pocket for me. I passed on the veil and dress to the original lender so she could keep it for her daughter when and if the time came.

    It worked out fine for all of us.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ahhhh weddings...the things to bring out the worst in people I think. Of course, I really cant say since I did the justice of the peace thing and Jamie did the little all-in-one wedding chapel once and justice of the peace the other time.

    I watch Bridezilla's quite a bit and watch it for humor. I swear I wouldnt marry any of those fools! 100K for a wedding? OMG! I would get married for 1K and buy a house with the rest! Sheesh. I think they are foolish.

    I would also just decide what you are able and want to do for your kids. If you want to go dress shopping, I think that would be fun. If you want to host the reception dinner, thats a nice thing to do. It normally falls on the grooms side but in my case, there is no way I could have done it unless we had a picnic in the park for a small gathering. I surely couldnt have hosted a lavish dinner. Ya just do what you can and want to do and the rest falls into place.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Since I had never had the traditional bridal dress, I was thrilled to be able to borrow one from a friend when Hubby and I got married. I'm not sure where K found her dress when she and Son #2 got married, but I know they didn't spend a ton. It was pretty much a do-it-yourself, potluck reception, type of wedding, and it was very nice.

    Bridezillas is a train wreck...and Miss KT and I love it!
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Isnt it hysterical? I just cant imagine throwing a huge fit in a cake shop or somewhere because they arent serving you fast enough! LMBO!
  10. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Enjoy the invitation and keep your checkbook at home. You didn't offer and her mother probably wants to pay for the wedding dress. Go in optimistic and oblivious to manipulation.
    If he has spent 62000.00 in a year then you need to keep your purse closed.

    When and if you decide to give a gift make it from your heart and let difficult child either be a horse's patootie or grateful. Don't be guilted into anything.

  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    What ever happened to the mother of the bride paying for the wedding? Isn't that what the "tradition" is supposed to be??

    While all mouths are gaping open........I'll chime in to add that I always though it was ridiculous for either the bride or groom to expect parents to pay for any of their wedding. If you're that hard up for money, kiddos you don't need to be getting married. lol

    husband and I got married 2 weeks after he proposed. (yes, my mother claimed to be near a heart attack or stroke many times in that 2 weeks) We made all the arrangements ourselves. We paid cash for everything. I never did figure out what all Mom's drama was over as she really had nothing to do. Although I did ask her to come with me to pick my wedding gown. (bought with my money) A beautiful off the shoulder dress with a long trail that cost me 150.00 on clearance from the season before. :) Normally that dress ran at least 1000.00!!

    When easy child married sister in law I just smiled alot. :D I did help her pick out her dress though and her now mother in law came along too. The wedding was paid for via sister in law's grandpa and grandma who had put forth the offer so the kids would be married before Darrin was born just a few days later. lol But grandma and grandpa had to really push the kids into accepting their offer and that it was completely sincere. Their wedding present to the kids. sister in law's and easy child's present to them was making everything as inexpensive as humanly possible.

    My kids know I won't put forth money for any of their weddings due to my own firm belief as stated above. They seem to agree with me, so no troubles. lol

    Leave your check book at home and go have fun. This is the time for that family bonding you've been craving for all these years. Time to begin your relationship with your soon to be daughter in law. And I hope you two grow as close as I am with my own mother in law. (I think of her as the Mom I always wanted)

    If you discuss it with husband and decide you'd like to do something special for the kids.......nothing wrong with that. Just approach it as you're giving a gift. It's the thought that counts and let it go at that.

    I have to chuckle. I've had my wedding gown tucked safely away sealed in plastic since the day after husband and I got married 27 years ago. (a gift from a friend to preserve the dress in like new condition until it could be wore by my daughters) easy child couldn't wear it on her wedding day as she was nine months preggers.......and big as a house! So I've told Nichole she has no choice but to wear my gown. I haven't been saving it all these years for nothing. lol And I know it will fit. She is an inch shorter than me and weighs what I did all those years ago. :rofl:

    To make me feel better.......easy child wore the same cameo necklace and bracelet belonging to my grandma that I wore on my wedding day. (it was her something Old) And Nichole will wear it on hers too.

    Weddings are fun. Let it be a fun time for all of you.

  12. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    husband and I had a nice outdoor wedding planned at a county park in WI. A barbecue and potluck sort of thing.

    The parents wanted a fancy wedding. I told both sides that they were welcome to PAY FOR IT, and they somehow managed to, though father in law stuck my parents with a huge part of the bill that took years for them to pay off.

    Sad to say, that wasn't our issue. It was theirs, and we detached ourselves from it.

    Not only that, we still had OUR reception at the park a couple of days after the fancy one.
  13. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Oy! Now I'm really getting scared! I don't know how to do any of these niceties. We have been to perhaps 6 weddings in our lives. My mother in law bought me a $40.00 debutante dress that was on clearance, that's what I wore for the justice of the peace. A few years later I lent it to someone who wanted to wear it for a Halloween party. I never saw that dress again. My mother did all the cooking, we ate our wedding meal at her apartment; no real fuss or pomp, no rehearsal dinner. I suspect that mother in law wanted her son married pronto because it would look better when he applied to medication school:(. husband and I have never danced. I feel like I'm going to have to learn about these rules and traditions. Maybe I should look at it as an anthropological study...

    The trouble with the whole dress bonding experience, that fiancée's mother is addicted to painkillers, will not bathe nor leave her room. They all live with her g'parents who are flat broke and out of work. I was getting sort of freaked when difficult child and his girlfriend were here for Thanksgiving. They told me it was wonderful to be able to walk barefoot in this house because they were always in danger of stepping in dog poop or urine. UGH.

    Another thing, I know that they want to request that their guests give them money, not gifts. This seems really crass to me. Am I wrong?

    I have no intention of going into debt for them. The money he inherited was meant to be mine, I was the only child and was sole inheritor in the original will, but a stranger got my mother to change her will in her favor the day before she died. Leaving a percentage to the g'kids was meant to make her look less predatory. This kid has bought a fast car, a motorcycle, plenty of toys and brand name stuff. We will look bad to lots of people because husband was a physician and they will deem us to be cheap. I am so tired of everyone's expectations of us. I don't care, let them judge us!
  14. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    GN, were you barefoot in the park? That would have been my choice of a wedding.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    My daughter in law invited me to shop with- her for her dress and it is a memory I cherish. At one point I did think about offering to pay for the headpiece, but did not. The only reason why is because I threw the wedding shower and also paid for part of the wedding itself. Otherwise, I think I would have made that gesture to pay for some small item (not the dress itself or even part of the cost of the dress). I did not feel badly about not offering to pay for the dress and she didn't imply that I should, etc. I think she just wanted the company and a little advice. IT is their special day...make sure she feels GREAT and I think you should take it as a compliment. If you have the means, you might offer to pay for some less expensive accompanying item. But only do this if it comes from the heart...and has special meaning to you. Have fun!
  16. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I guess this is really hard for me because all my shields are up right now, trying not to get hurt by that sword.

    You have all been so nice to respond to my post. I need to be less cynical and learn how to have fun.
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Actually, I wore sandals. There were too many bumble bee and yellow jacket nests for it to be safe going barefoot.

    On the way home, as the park closed for the night, husband and I did see an all-white whitetail deer. Beautiful buck growing what looked to be a set of fine antlers once the velvet came off.

    We sort of took that as a portent as the white deer or stag is supposed to be a bringer of good fortune in many cultures.

    husband and I were actually handfasted a year before the "official" wedding.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    3S you don't have to be knowledgeable about all the pomp and fluff about so called traditional weddings. Lord knows I certainly wasn't, I barely had the basic details down. lol And my Mom knew less than I did. I was the only kid out of 5 who had something resembling a traditional wedding. And even then I kept it small. Family only. Period. Except husband got to invite his Army friends because his family were too far away and couldn't come. My cake I had made by a friend who worked at the hospital and baked cakes on the side. Beautiful and cheap. Only flowers I had were the one's I daisy's that are now tucked away in a trunk. Also cheap. husband wore his dress blues. We used the pool house at our apartment complex for the reception. Cost us 50 bucks. It was a small cozy family celebration type wedding. We didn't do the rehersal dinner beforehand usually given by one set of the parents thing. I think we grabbed KFC on the way home. lol Oh, and the food at the reception (mostly snack food other than the cake) was a wedding gift from my sister's mother in law. :)

    It may have been small and put together in 2 weeks, but it was truely a lovely wedding and I remember it fondly.

    easy child's was odd because at the last minute her mother in law decided to attempt to make it "appear" to be far fancier than it was by adding people who were going to stand up with the kids and hiring a professional photographer. I thought easy child was going to strangle her. lol But it worked out ok in the end.

    Besides, if she or difficult child hints they might want you to pay for something you can always fail to notice the hint. ;)

    If Nichole ever ends up marrying boyfriend......OMG I plan to stand back and watch the circus. boyfriend's mom is a piece of work unto herself and she'll take it and run with it to the extreme driving everyone nuts. She did it when boyfriend's older brother got married.

    You'll be fine. Your soon to be daughter in law commplimented you by asking you to go with her. :)
  19. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    All three of my weddings were somewhat less that traditional. For the first one, R and I, along with my mom, Nana, my brother, and several of our friends, went to Lake Tahoe the day after finals, and got married outside overlooking the lake. For wedding #2, to Miss KT's useless father, I suspected it was an error, but she was two months old...anyway, it was a confidential marriage., because the county wanted to charge us over $100 for blood tests before we got the license. For the confidential marriage, we didn't need blood tests.

    When Hubby and I got married, after dating 5 months (we knew each other in high school 20 years before), we decided on a Sunday to get married the next Saturday, and went to Reno with our mothers and our kids. My mom wanted to stay at Circus Circus, and I called them and asked if they had a wedding package. They did, and the ceremony was set up for us. We still haven't gotten around to a reception, though.

    Don't worry about it, 3S. I think the weddings that are the most fun are the ones that are the least traditional. Go along for the dress shopping, cake tasting, whatever, have a wonderful time doing it, and only offer to pay for what you want to offer to pay for.
  20. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Don't stress that you don't know all the traditions of a "traditional american wedding". I'm in Canada and practices of traditional weddings are the same here as the US. I've been to a sum total of 3 weddings in my life. My cousin was married in a dress she bought (about $200). Her bridal party wore suits they owned and dresses they owned. There was a few pretty flowers in the small church. They were transferred to her new in-laws home for the reception to do double duty as decorations.
    The reception was a cold buffet of cold cut meats, breads, veggies, cold salads,etc. The priciest item was probably the shrimp (grocery store bought).
    Alcohol was a few cases of homemade wine from a brew it yourself shop. It was lovely wine and cost them very little.
    They asked for no gifts and offered no favors for guests. Just a sincere thank you for sharing in their lovely day.
    They maybe spent $1500 on the entire thing. It was my favorite wedding by far.

    The 2 others were traditional. One VERY lavish and the couple and the inlaws were in serious debt. The marriage lasted 4 1/2 months ;). The most recent was a traditional Scottish wedding with men in kilts, bagpipers playing etc. Everything was traditional but not overly lavish and the bride and groom, young with 3 kids, were able to finance it on their own.

    My S/O and I are getting married next year. No part of us wants or expects help financially from anyone. I will ask my mother in law to be to be present to help me choose a dress. I could (but wont) invite my own mother, who is a trainwreck. But my mother in law and I will enjoy it and I will have lovely memories of sharing it with her. I'm excited most by that part of the whole thing! Other than that, its' going to be minimal but special in ways we want. We have a budget of $2500 we placed on ourselves, excluding my dress, and easy child's dress, and rental tuxes for S/O and difficult child. My dress I've found online from a great american site, a $3000 dress on sale for $400. It is my one splurge. Not too shabby lol.

    There are traditional weddings, but more and more, people are realizing it is what you make of the day. And that it can be really stressful and put a blight on your special day if financing it is a stressor. I hope your 2 lovebirds can focus on the big picture, celebrating joining their lives in a marriage ceremony :)

    Congrats !!!