My mom is an interesting character; I always think that if I were to ever write a book, my mother would be the ideal stuck up socialite antagonist. Her actions are innocent enough - I genuinely believe that this is just the way she is and that she can't help it - and I certainly wouldn't call her "stupid" (though I flung the word at her like crazy when I was a teenager), but perhaps "careless" would better describe her, and despite how this post might sound, I do just adore my mom (most of the time).
When I refer to my mom as "careless," I don't mean it the sense that she's flakey and unable to sort out levels of importance in her priorities, but rather that she literally could not care less - she doesn't care what others think of her, she's somewhat thoughtless, she says things that obviously she didn't thoroughly think through before saying them. Case in point: when Matt and I first got engaged, we went up to Tahoe to go to church with my mom (she's part of the parish of the church we're getting married in) and ran into an old girlfriend of mine from high school and her newly engaged fiance. My mom, never one to be outdone, kept nudging at the couple throughout the mass insisting that they "meet my fiance" and "look at my ring." When they finally complied and looked at my ring, my mom remarked loudly to me, "That can't make her fiance feel too good, seeing how big your ring is compared to hers." She didn't mean it maliciously - it's just part of her careless attitude - and while I desperately wanted to crawl under the pew away from my mother's somehow scathing, yet somehow innocent comments, she didn't even seem to notice she'd said anything wrong.
My mom is also highly social; I can't even count on my fingers and toes how many close friends she has, and I would list "throwing soirees" as one of her all time favorite hobbies. With her deep primal urge to throw one hell of a party, she has, unsurprisingly, thrown herself full-heartedly into planning the wedding. If soirees are a pleasure, surely throwing a party for 150-some people must be heaven. However, somewhere in the middle of all this, the "throwing a party for 150-some people" somehow surpassed "giving her daughter a beautiful wedding." Sometimes I think she's completely forgotten just exactly what the primary reason of this "party" is and could care less about any factors underlying the fact that she gets to hostess a really big party. She ran by me the other day the speech she's going to give at our reception, and while I foolishly expected to be moved to tears by some beautiful rendition of how my mother and I had managed to move beyond the tumultuous relationship we had during my teenage years to become such good friends and how happy she was that I was now bringing into the family a most wonderful man, I instead got a run down of how many and what states our guests have travelled from. My mom has pushed aside any notion of this wedding being mine and Matt's and has developed an awful tendency to be extremely over-sensitive to being said no to in regards to anything involving the wedding. With that said, I give you a pretty humorous list of the incredibly mundane things my mom and I have fought about with the wedding only a matter of days away:
1. The Rehearsal Dinner Seating
. Before I fully get into this, it should be noted that, per tradition, Matt's family is paying for the rehearsal dinner, so naturally you would assume that this would mean they'd get first say in everything. The dinner is going to be kind of a big event since a lot of our guests are coming from far away - it would be a shame for them to travel all that way for one day - so there will be appoximately 70 people at the rehearsal dinner, which means we need to figure out an appropriate seating arrangement and everyone needs to be assigned a seat so the waiters know what meal goes to what seat for the sit-down dinner. This has turned into one gigantic headache. When Matt and I went to Sacramento for the wedding last weekend, Matt's mom and I took some time to draw up a nice diagram and tentatively work out seating assignments. A month or so ago we decided on 8 people per table - it would keep things nicely spaced and comfortable and the coordinator told us that that was probably about the max you'd want at a table anyway. We pushed the limit a little by putting 9 at a few tables (mostly because Matt and I want all our wedding party together and there's an odd number of them with their dates), but we figured that would be okay. When Matt's mom faxed the diagram and our contingent seating assignments to my mom, my mom found it fitting to change the entire
thing, to add 10 people at a table where she damn well pleased. She completely eliminated a whole table and decided to put our entire family at the front tables closest to the head table, pushing Matt's family all the way to the back (nevermind that this is the marriage of two families and Matt's parents are the one paying for the dinner - I'm sure they'd have been thrilled
that my mom thought it appropriate to demote everyone of importance in their life to not as important as our family). Thankfully, she sent her changes to me first, so Matt's mom never had to see the horror of my mom patronizing her family's importance. When I told her ever-so-nicely that she couldn't have 10 people at a table, she, like a whiny 10-year old throwing a tantrum, pointed out that was SO unfair because I had a table of 9 and she absolutely could not separate so-and-so from so-and-so. She would not
. She wouldn't even try. She preferred to pout in a corner about not getting her way, so I spent mind numbing hours figuring out the perfect combination myself. Of course, this wasn't good enough for my mom (who was still fuming over the awful unfairness of Matt and I having a table of 9), so she emailed the coordinator and asked her for the dimentions of the tables as PROOF that she couldn't fit 10 at a table (I wish I were joking, I really do). Then, and only then, was she able to accept that she really couldn't have 10 people at a table.
2. The Ring Bearer
. I don't think I've mentioned it - or if I have, it hasn't been often - but the ring bearer at our wedding is going to be our dog, Tommy
. He's a big part of mine and Matt's life, and while Matt wasn't initially enthused about the idea, he finally admitted to me last night that he's "glad Tommy's in the wedding." Anyway, I digress. Everyone has adored the idea of us having our dog in the wedding. I got him a harness to make him easier to handle for our friend who we've given the title of "Ring Bearer Usher" and plan to stitch velcro to the top of the harness and the bottom of the ring pillow to make it work. I also got him a bow tie
so he'll fit right in with wedding party (though he is thrilled neither about the harness nor the bow tie). My mom wrote me an email today asking why don't we put Tommy in a top hat. In response, I wrote:
There's really no feasible way we could put a top hat on Tommy - he already hates the bow tie enough!! Plus, none of Matt's groomsmen are wearing top hats, so I'd like Tommy to "match."
To which she replied:
Sorry about the “top hat” suggestion! I can feel your disgust for what I said through your e-mail!
Did I miss something here? I read my email over and over again for hints of sarcasm and could find none. Probably because I wasn't feeling particularly snarky when I told my mom Tommy wouldn't be wearing a top hat, and it's not so much that my mom minds that he won't be wearing a top hat, but rather, she's upset due to the fact that she thinks he won't be wearing a top hat just
to spite her - she thinks I turned down the idea not because I didn't like it, but because it was her idea, which is, of course, absolutely insane (incidentally, I've been using that word a lot lately to describe my mom).
3. Picture Frames
. As somewhat of a rip off from my brother and his wife's wedding, I decided that at the table where we'll have the guest book, I'm going to put framed 8x10s of Matt and I, my parents at their wedding, and Matt's parents at theirs. Matt's mom sent me home with their entire photo album to pick out whatever photo of theirs I wanted to use (she's been such a Godsend throughout this - it's nice to have at least ONE mom maintaining her sanity). I told my mom to pick out an 8x10 photo of her and my dad from their wedding for me and that I was then going to get three matching frames. I got an email from my mom today letting me know that she'd picked out a photo and asking me if I wanted her to get a particular frame for it. I told her no, "please don't frame the 8x10. I'm going to get three matching frames," and she must've sensed some level of "disgust" in that email as well because her response was, "Fine. I'll be happy to let you spend your money on a frame."
I don't really know what it is about the wedding that has brought out this highly sensitive side of my mom. She has, on some level, always had a tendency to take everything personally, but not like this - suddenly, everything
is a personal insult or attack aimed at her. Matt thinks it's because she's having mixed feelings about "losing" her daughter, and if that were the case, I wish she'd release her emotions the same way my dad has by watching all of our old home videos from when I was a little girl. Regardless, nothing can seem to deter my excitement for the wedding and our Mexico honeymoon. I've discovered that if I force myself to speak slowly, deliberately, and monotonously to my mom, it prevents me from getting angry at her for her recent actions and for the most part, I've just ignored her over-sensitivity. I suppose if I get angry at her for getting angry over the ridiculous stuff she's gotten upset over, it doesn't make me any better. In just 11 days, this'll all be behind us! :-)