A few months ago I wrote about my relationship with my boyfriend, “J.” On Valentine’s Day he became my fiancé, and while my days of writing as a single Imperfect Parent are numbered, I couldn’t be happier.
In the month since we’ve been engaged I’ve discovered that wedding planning is a bit different this time around. I don’t mind that we’re getting married in December instead of the more popular months of spring or fall. I’m not obsessed with finding the perfect favor or invitation (although I have perfectly good ideas in mind). The biggest difference, however, is that after receiving the typical How did he ask? Where are you getting married? When’s the big day? series of questions, I hear:
“Well, what do the kids say?”
I’m pleased to report that my kids are happy about the news and have said a lot. My 7-year-old son summed it up best when he told me, “Mom, you getting married to J. is both weird and exciting.”
What a perfect description!
The kids were with their father when J. popped the question to me, so I had a few days to prepare what I would say to them. Here’s essentially how it went down when we had our big talk about the big day:
Susan: “Guys, I have something important to tell you. You’re both very important to me. J. is an important part of our lives, too. You know we’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend for a while…”
Son (7): “Ewwww!” (Rolls eyes at mention of boyfriend/girlfriend.)
Daughter (9): “Brother, be quiet! Yes, mom, go on.”
Susan: “Well, J. asked me to marry him this weekend and I told him ‘yes.’”
Son makes an exaggerated surprise face: “Whaaaaa?!”
Daughter: “I’m going to be a FLOWER GIRL, A FLOWER GIRL, OH, YEAH, OH, YEAH!”
Susan: “Well, I was thinking more like junior bridesmaid…”
Daughter: “A JUNIOR BRIDESMAID!! Yay me!”
Seriously, this is how she talks. Or as the case may be, yells.
A bit more contemplative, Son says: “Does this mean J. is going to be a part of our family?”
Susan: “Yes, exactly.”
My son took this all in and seemed satisfied. We continued talking. My daughter chattered on about dress colors and flowers, and then began lecturing her brother about his duties as a ring bearer. He’d have to carry a white or red pillow;; no other colors would do, according to her. Suddenly, I feared they may have missed the point in all of this pillow talk. I took a deep breath.
“I’m glad you’re excited about the wedding, but, you know, this isn’t just about a party. It means J. will be moving in with us after the wedding. And we’ll probably move to a new house after that.”
Son: “Cool! Can I bring my [Nintendo] DS?”
Daughter, now the contemplative one: “We’ll still get to go to Dad’s, right?”
Susan, thankful for the Ex and their shared custody: “Yep, the same as now. Your dad is still your dad. That won’t change. You’ll stay in the same schools, too.”
Daughter: “Good, that’s what I was thinking we should do. I like J., Mom. I’m glad he’s moving in with us. I wonder when he moves what he’ll bring?…”
She thinks for a moment, and then answers her own question. “…I think he’d bring some clothes and his toothbrush, maybe a few books…”
As she rattled off the list of items J. should start packing, I thought about how smart my kids are…and how lucky I am. A year ago I never would have guessed I’d be having that conversation on the couch. Now, I can’t wait for our next talk. I’m sure it will be about Nintendo DS games, Cub Scouts and Brownies, or summer camp, not wedding plans, and that’s okay.
In fact, that’s exactly how it should be with kids…just as long as we keep talking.
I chuckle when I read about young brides fretting over finding the perfect wedding gown and coordinating bridesmaid dresses, or choosing the right font for their place cards. Don’t get me wrong – I want my wedding celebration to be elegant and fun. But if I’ve learned anything as a mother, it’s that special days (and people) don’t have to be “perfect.”
In December I’ll walk up the aisle with my son and daughter to marry the man I love, the man who will officially become part of our family. It will be weird and exciting and as close to perfect as I could ever imagine.