The other day I was driving to the bank, bawling my eyes out. When I got to the bank the teller asked if I was OK, to which I responded, “I’m fine, I’m just getting my tears out of the way before my daughter’s wedding.”
The same thing happened on different days at different businesses around the Lake Minnetonka area. Needless to say, I’ve gotten a few strange looks.
In a few days, I’m walking my daughter, Kelsey, down the aisle. I had this theory that if I listened to her wedding song in the car while running errands, I could get my crying out of the way and not lose it while walking her down the aisle during the wedding.
I have a history of mistakenly thinking I can schedule or control my emotions. I can to a degree, we all can. Those deep, gut-wrenching emotions are the tough ones. When my mother died, I thought I could schedule my grief around my responsibilities. Totally dumb, didn’t work. Instead, I found myself collapsed on the floor in the cake aisle of Cub Foods doing the Oprah ugly cry, while my sisters tried to get me up and out of the store with the help of Xanax.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this wedding has me so emotional. I’m thrilled that my daughter is marrying her fiance, Mike. He and his family are wonderful. After turning to Facebook for advice, as one does in the 21st century, I think I figured it out.
My goal as a parent has always been to raise my children so they become independent, happy, contributing members of society. I put independent first because their ability to be independent is more of a priority for me than their happiness. Before you blow a parenting gasket, hear me out.
If a child grows up to be an independent adult, they know they are responsible for the life they have. They know there is work to be done if you want things. They don’t feel entitled to what they didn’t work for. They won’t wait for happiness to find them, they will create their happiness. When you are independent, you take ownership for your choices and actions. This empowers you to create the life you want. That was always my priority in raising my kids, who are now adults.
What I’ve come to realize is my tears are definitely tears of happiness, but also tears of sadness. The sadness is because my daughter, Kelsey, her future husband, Mike, and my grandson, Oliver, are moving to Texas after the wedding for several months. Her soon-to-be husband has a job out there. Their plan is to return to Minnesota.
I want my daughter to make the best choices for her family, even if it means moving away from me, which is not what I want, but it is part of kids growing up and creating their own lives.
The wedding symbolizes more than their union, it also signals the move to Texas, which is the grief floating under my tears of happiness. They are moving to a place where they have no family or friends. They are excited, as they should be. I raised my daughter to look a challenge in the eye and give it a wink. Kelsey is doing exactly that.
My daughter sees this as an adventure for herself and her family, as she should. I fully support what they are doing, even though I’d prefer that they lived closer. They say they are coming back, but sometimes when you put roots down in a place, they take hold.
What makes me happy is knowing that my daughter is independent and capable. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she will figure it out. She is the same kid who threw a book at me when she was 3 years old and said, “Teach me to read!”
In the meantime, I’ve decided to let go of my need to control my emotions. If I ugly cry all the way down the aisle, then so be it. We are doing the wedding photos beforehand anyway. Plus, I need to stop with the crying while driving before I get pulled over.
They are moving to Texas for less than a year. Time to exercise my own independence, create my own happiness and book a ticket for a visit.