My OH (Other Half) and I hosted an engagement party for our youngest daughter this week. It was a joyous occasion due to the weather behaving, the guests being in a gregarious mood, all determined to celebrate the occasion. The food was delicious, and I had nothing to do with it, and the Greek Rosé wine flowed. For the days leading up to it, my OH and I just learned to agree with our daughter and not to inflict our choices on her. To be fair, she was probably right with every choice she made as she is an events planner and definitely knows better.
It got me thinking about the relationship between mother and daughter and how fragile it can be. I have girlfriends who have had fallouts with their daughters at one time or another, which have lasted weeks and even months in some instances. Mother/daughter relationships can be incredible. Many Mums say that their daughters are their best friends, but they won’t convince me that it has not been a stony path that they have trod to get to this point.
My relationship with my mother was so different from the one I have with my two daughters. It was remote and more serious. We never discussed anything personal. She did not approve of most of my life decisions. We were very definitely different generations, and she could not relate to my life as a young 20-something as when she was that age it was WWII and just after. She was married and had three of her four children by the age that I was when I got married.
However, I enjoy many of the same things as my own daughters. We have similar tastes in fashion, so I often see my wardrobe being raided. They are keen on keeping fit and so, motivated by them; I do the same. I don’t think my mother ever ventured into a gym. I went to my first Festival this summer, again encouraged by them, and this time they advised me on what to wear. The trouble is that the closer you are to your daughters then, the more likely you are to fall out and for it to be more painful.
I had times when I did not speak to my mother, and she probably had no idea that we weren’t speaking. Even when we were on good terms, we did not speak too often. No mobiles, what’s app or emails. It was landlines, and letters or home visits and life was too much fun to have time for much of the latter.
My girls pop home so often. My eldest daughter lived here with her partner last year for six months. We shared the shopping and cooking, and it was such a joy to share a house with one of my grown-up kids. I looked upon it as a bonus and privilege. When I left home, I left for good; I don’t think there was much that would have enticed me to move back home as much as I loved my parents; we were poles apart in the way we chose to live our lives.
The relationship may shift and change as time goes on, but one thing always remains the same: the unconditional love I have for my daughters.
My youngest daughter’s wedding is late next year, so I hope the stress of organising a wedding – she is doing the organising – does not affect our relationship. I just have to keep very quiet and let her make the choices. It is the young couple’s day, so the guests will mostly be their friends. When my eldest sister got married, it was a traditional wedding. It was predominantly my parents friends and many elderly relatives. Church at 2 pm, back home for a glass of champagne, some tea and sandwiches, lots of speeches, cut the cake (a traditional fruit one with icing, saving one layer for the Christening of the first child) and the happy couple left for the honeymoon.
Meanwhile, OH and I have been given a strict limitation on our guest numbers, and the big day will stretch well into the night with dinner and dancing. Even the cake is unlikely to be a fruit one. But to be honest, if the majority of the guests are under 35 and there is no Great-Aunt Maud knocking back the sweet sherry in the corner, it will be a much more pleasurable and enjoyable day.
All I know is that our daughter and her fiancé and well matched, and they both bring such joy to our family, so we couldn’t be happier, and we wish them all the happiness for their future together.
OH are very lucky as all of our children, we also have two very remarkable sons, are each unique and special in their own way. We are so lucky to have both sons and daughters. We also feel fortunate that we live in a time and a culture where they are free to choose careers, play sports, dress uniquely, date and control their own destiny. My heart goes out to women and girls who lack these freedoms.
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