My mom and dad. Aw.
By Chris Wolfgang
"But you have to have a first dance."
His mother didn't plead. It wasn't a question. It was this is what shall be done.
I tried to stand my ground. "Well, neither of us particularly enjoys the idea of dancing with hundreds of eyes on us. I'd rather just get right to the dance party part of it all."
She didn't blink. "Your father will want to have a first dance with his daughter."
Jeremy's mother has never met my father. My dad and I, in fact, had already decided that a father-daughter dance would be torture for both of us.
"Oh, it's not really his thing," I tried to say gently. "Neither of us is much of a dancer."
She waved a hand. "He would do it for you."
Now, this is true. If I had my heart set on a father-daughter dance, my dad would suck it up, grin and bear it, and die ten thousand slow deaths while we danced to Butterfly Kisses. Fortunately, it's within my power to make this a nonissue, so I'm simply not going to put him through it.
But in the face of my fiance's mother, I was helpless. I ended the conversation with a feeble, "Well, we'll see."
That night, I related the exchange to Jeremy. "I'm so sick of being told what to do," I whined. "I don't want to dance, my dad doesn't want to dance, you don't want to dance ... why is this so important? It's not! It doesn't matter at all, so why on earth ..."
"Maybe she's afraid she won't get to have a first dance with me."
I stared at him.
With one calm, non-accusatory suggestion, he had forced me to get over myself. I had been so adamant about my day, my comfort zone, that I hadn't realized I might be taking away a mother-of-the-groom moment that my future mother-in-law had been looking forward to.
That nonchalant statement was like a splash of water in the face. As important as a wedding day is for the two people joining in marriage, it's important for so many others. It's a milestone for Jeremy and me, but it is for his parents and my parents too.
Yes, I want the day to strongly reflect the relationship I have with Jeremy. But I want to make room for the supportive people in our lives to be represented too.
I mean, if not, why are we having a wedding at all? Why not just find a shaman, hike up the Rockies, and say our vows, just the two of us? The reason it's a party, the reason it's a celebration, is because our relationship and individual lives have been so cared for by so many people. I need to find ways for us to be comfortable while allowing those people to be honored.
I'm still working on how exactly to get my dad and me out of a first dance while giving Jeremy's mom her special moment with her son. But we'll come up with something!
Don't worry, Dad! We'll figure this out!
Chris is an editor in the publishing world by day and a home-cook extraordinaire by night, as well as an avid volunteer, dog lover, and very amateur photographer. She met Jeremy when she heeded the siren call of the west a few years ago. They will be married at his parents’ place in Nebraska next fall. She’d love for you to look her up on Twitter @chriswolfgang.