Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Avoid the mistakes my "parents" made: Go to your kid's wedding. It's more than worth it.

2.17.2013

Avoid the mistakes my "parents" made: Go to your kid's wedding. It's more than worth it.

I found this video after following a link off a Twitter feed and quite inspired it, one reason being that I'm a videographer who has done several weddings. But aside from that, I was intrigued by the backstory of this moment captured on film. The bride's father was obviously missing from this moment as he had passed away just weeks before the wedding of pancreatic cancer. In response to this, her brother recorded a rendition of their father's favorite song, "Butterfly Kisses" by Eric Carlisle, while she danced with several of the important male family members in her life, including her new father-in-law. I have to admit, it did bring a tear to my eye watching this beautiful moment unfold in gorgeous, cinematic videography (awesome camera and editing job by Michael LaFrance).


I myself have a bit of a common tie with bride in this video; we both have parents who did not attend the wedding.

But for me, it wasn't because of uncontrollable factors like illness and death. My parents had deliberately chosen to boycott our wedding in October 2010 under the grounds that we had chosen to "live our lives in sin" and marry outside the Catholic Church. To be exact, the wedding took place at City Hall in downtown Chicago, in a very brief but poignant ceremony, devoid of pomp and circumstance and surrounded by the family and friends that were supportive of our decision to spend the rest of our lives together. To this day, I have yet to hear either one of my parents even recognize that Matt and I are legally married simply because it wasn't officiated by a priest. And until I electronically embarrassed my father online multiple times for continuing to send me harassing e-mails (who he CC'd to everyone in his random e-mail list) after the fact condemning my "deadly" choices, I continued to be reminded about my "failures" as a human being and a "servant of God." Whatever the hell that means.

So yes, in this blog post, I call out the sources of my genetic makeup for the downright unwillingness to accept my choices and to drag me down with them as they wallow in their own personal miseries. (They're not very technologically savvy so I doubt they'll ever read or find this.)

For years I have lived with the disappointment of not meeting the expectations of people who I thought were supposed to love and accept me for the person I am. From my apparent failures in my youth (I wasn't elected class president or was named valedictorian but was accepted into a nationally-ranked high school), in high school (I had a 3.8 unweighted GPA and not a 4.0), to my college mistakes (I graduated only cum laude instead of summa cum laude and was a member of my college's first women's ice hockey team), there was always some sort of severely catastropic issue or problem with me that had to be address, fixed, prayed for, etc. The avoidance of one of the happiest days of my life, our wedding, was the final straw.

There are moments in my idle thoughts when the sadness and the feelings of abandonment and failure come back to torture me. I do confess, there are times that seeing children (regardless of their age) with their parents and actually having a relationship with them drives a stake into my heart and rustles up that resentment. But despite all of this, I still carry on and work to exceed the expectations that I set forth for myself. It is difficult to be unable to consider blood relations as family, but it has only allowed me to forge even stronger relationships with good people who are actually proud of the person that I grew up to be. I am grateful for those people who tolerate me, think I'm just fine, and are proud to know me.

Perhaps venting this into cyberspace will give me some sort of peace and an ability to move on from this. It's a deep wound that is very difficult to patch but I'm trying to cope with it. It's a need to feel wanted and appreciated by the people you hope (and automatically think) want you around. And to add insult to injury, I have heard that from the grapevine that my "parents" have attended the weddings of other people I know over last few months, including the one of a childhood friend who I grew up with, and that irks me to no end. If that doesn't define hypocritical to the nth degree, I don't know what does.

So other than sounding obvious, why is it worth it to go to your kid's wedding, aside from the fact that it's YOUR kid? It greatly increases the chances that he/she would want to continue to have a relationship with you in the future. Perhaps that kid will be the one that lives 2500 miles away and still calls. You'd think that every parent would want to do that, but I was fortunate to have the ones who have already written me out of existence because of my apparent failures as a human being. This isn't new news; when I realized that I had spent my life in that house in a loveless family who never ate dinner together, engaged in any family activities, and restricted me from being a normal child, I had to break away somehow. I paid dearly for it, but the rewards of finding my freedom have been plentiful and have outnumbered the costs.

As disappointed as these people are of me, I should be the one that's disappointed with them. My "parents" just missed out on one of the happiest days of my life. It's one that can't be repeated over again, and they will have to live with the decision of deliberately missing those moments for the rest of their lives. If you're a parent reading this, save yourself that eventual guilt, swallow your pride, and just attend, if only making a physical presence. It's not worth the long-term damage. You are GUARANTEED to miss out on the wonderful things that your kid and their spouse (and offspring if they chose to have any) have to offer and share.

This is a rough topic to say the least (and a strange one to find in a blog that talks about motorcycles and food most of the time), but I put this out there to let others who are dealing with the unfortunate situation of parents who don't approve of their choices to the point that they're completely shunned, whether it be who or how you want to get married, how you want to live your life, or any other personal choices that you make for yourself. You're not alone. I am there too.

And it gets better. Surround yourself with good people who care about you and it softens the blow. If you have to cut your losses to move on, do it. It is too much energy to waste on people who make it their prerogative to hate you. Use that energy to make the world a better place. I'm working on that part.