Mom is carefully choosing words

August 05, 2008|By SUSAN REIMER

This is the summer of keeping my mouth shut.

I have a son who is getting married and a daughter who is living under my roof after having graduated from college, and I have bitten my tongue bloody.

Neither of my children would agree, of course. I am sure they would tell you that I haven't shut up yet and show no signs of doing so.

All I can say is, I am trying hard not to say anything that will offend, but there doesn't seem to be much in that category from which to choose.

I am an MOG, as we say in the wedding biz. Mother of the groom. We don't have much of a role in the proceedings, except to pull together the rehearsal dinner.

The rest of the job description goes like this: Don't do anything to irritate the living daylights out of the bride and don't wear anything on the wedding day that will draw unwanted attention to yourself.

The short version is, "Shut up and wear beige." It should be a bumper sticker.

I am truly grateful for my modest role in Joe's wedding, although nobody in my family believes that.

My husband and I ran away to Denver to marry, lo these many years ago, and spent two weeks skiing in Aspen and Vail before returning home to face the wrath of his mother, who had been denied a role in her oldest son's wedding.

After suggesting that Joe and his intended do what we did - just buy a couple of airplane tickets and be done with it, a suggestion that was greeted with awkward silence - I really didn't have much left to contribute.

So I am playing the careful observer for this wedding and taking notes in preparation for what I am sure will be Jessie's extravaganza.

I can already guess that I will make a lot of people mad when that day comes around. And since you can only dip into the well of human kindness so many times, I am grateful for the free pass on this one.

But my daughter and I are living in the same house, and that provides endless opportunities for me to say something controversial no matter how hard I try to stick to neutral topics, such as the weather and what she is choosing to wear to her new job.

Oops. I did it again.

Anyway, I am one of a growing number of parents who is delighted to have their adult child living at home, although I don't think the feeling is mutual.

Research suggests that is because our politics and our values are not all that different, and we can enjoy each other's company while the children get their feet on the ground economically.

We aren't arguing about Richard Nixon and birth control pills the way my generation did with their parents, making Sunday dinners miserable and living at home impossible.

At the same time, these are kids who have been living la vida loco at college for four years and are in no mood to endure a lecture on the importance of getting to work on time or how to save money by packing your own lunch.

Did I say that out loud? Oops. Sorry.

Anyway, so much of this is perception, and although I am convinced that I haven't said anything annoying or condescending or intrusive or overbearing or just plain stupid this summer, I can't seem to find anybody in my family who agrees with me.

I mean, if my son is too busy to pick up when I dial his cell phone and my daughter is too busy for eye contact, how irritating can I possibly be?

Yes, this is the summer of keeping my mouth shut.

As you might guess, it isn't going at all well.


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