As my wedding date nears, my mom has suddenly taken more of an interest in being a part of the planning, which is fine. What is so clarifying for me is that before committing to coming to visit me this weekend I had to assure her several times that there would be stuff to do. In essence, she needed a play-by-play before she decided that she was definitely coming down.
With dad, all he wants to know is that he can see me. What we do is irrelevant, it's the fact that we are spending time together that matters. Don't get me wrong, when dad and I hang out our time is usually jam-packed with activities. But we are much more spontaneous. And he is also content just talking or just sitting.
I sometimes wonder if my mom can handle just being near someone. She constantly needs to "do," despite the fact that she often complains about being too busy. Sometimes I think that she wants to be unhappy on purpose. In any case, I was never good at just scheduling every moment of my day so there would always be something to do; I am more laid-back, like dad. This is likely the reason that mom and I don't get along at all. Our sensibilities are so different that a natural tension develops when we spend time together. This state is exacerbated by the fact that mom can't accept that our ideologies differ. The experience is such that I look towards spending time with my mom with dread, and I search for reasons to avoid the experience.
When people ask me what my parents are like I tend to say my mom is my mom and then move on to describe my dad in more detail. I know him better, despite how little time we've had to spend together. According to mom, I have even developed some of his mannerisms over the years.
It is with this in mind that I know that mom and I will never have the experience that most do when they are planning a wedding. Mom and I approach things so differently that when I told dad that mom wanted to help, he said that I should remember that the day is about me, not mom. And he's right, of course. Dad's contribution to the wedding planning has always been as a sounding board (as he is for so much of my life) and I am grateful to him for reminding me what matters. Mom's contribution will likely be to remind me what I don't want for our big day.
But as I continue to plan my wedding, there is a certain resigned sadness that shadows the process. Not because of the relationship we won't have, but because I am sad that I can't give her the experience she so obviously wants. But this is the way it's been since high school and I don't ever want to compromise myself or my ideals just to make my mom happy. And it's not that I don't love my mother, because I do. But some things need to be accepted for life to move on.