I never imagined how bittersweet it is to be a mom.
When I was just eighteen I met the love of my life, Teacher. It was obvious we were meant to be together forever. Within six months of that first “hello” we were talking marriage and four months later we were married. I felt so grown-up; eager to leave my childhood nest and start building my own nest.
Only now do I understand how bittersweet that time was for my mom.
A couple of months ago Cowboy asked Princess to marry him. The sparkly on her finger is nothing compared to the stars in her eyes when she looks at him. I anticipated a lengthy engagement since Princess hadn’t even finished her first semester at college. Knowing how eager Teacher and I were to be married, I should have known better.
Around Christmas Cowboy and Princess started giving hints that their wedding would be sooner than I expected. They went to visit apartments and started talking about budgets and insurance. I buried myself in holiday activities, deliberately ignoring the signs that were staring me in the face.
The problem with denial is that you can’t keep it up forever. Eventually the facts rear their ugly head and bite you in the butt. Princess and Cowboy chose a wedding date in March, giving us just over eight weeks to plan. Their date fell at the beginning of Princess’s Spring Break so she’d have a little time to concentrate on her new role without worrying about school.
My initial feelings were joy and anguish, excitement and dread. For the first weeks I fought panic attacks whenever I thought about the wedding. There’s so much to plan! How will we pay for it all? Have I taught Princess everything she needs to know? Is she ready to run her own household? How will I survive not seeing her and Peanut every day? What if she needs me and I’m not there?
You see, Cowboy plans to enlist in the Marines but wanted to be married first for the benefits. According to Cowboy’s recruiter they’ll probably end up on base in California. California is a very, very long way from Wisconsin. My heart breaks when I think about not being able to see Princess and Peanut every day.
Fortunately I haven’t had much time to wallow in “what may be” because there’s too much to do now. The more time I spend helping Princess and Cowboy plan their wedding the more feelings of joy and excitement overshadow sadness and worry.
It’s obvious how madly in love Princess and Cowboy are – with each other and with their little Peanut. They remind me of Teacher, myself, and College Boy about twenty-two years ago. We’re still madly in love today.
Being a mom is often bittersweet, but it takes a little bitter to fully appreciate the sweet. It’s time to concentrate on the sweet task of planning a wonderful wedding for two people who are loved very much.