My fiance and I have been living in Chicago for five years and want to throw a wedding here to share the city we love with our out-of-town family and friends from Michigan and Wisconsin.
My mother wants the wedding in Detroit, where I grew up, and has given us a long list of logistical problems and reasons why our Chicago wedding can't possibly work. We studied her concerns about guest costs, weather, parking, logistics and travel. We even prepared spreadsheets and slides to show her what we found.
After weeks of debate with my parents, my fiance and I decided to have the wedding in Chicago and to pay for it. My mother rejects our analysis and says we're fudging the numbers. In the many teary fights since our engagement, she says that we're being selfish and that people who said they'd come are lying.
The root issue is that my mother remains angry and hurt that I moved to Chicago in the first place. She admits she hates the city and blames it for "destroying" her family. I came for school and stayed for opportunities and happiness I found. I'm her only child, and I know it would devastate her to leave her out of helping to plan this wedding. But we're not working toward the same goal, and now she's starting to sabotage plans and may attempt to talk people out of coming.
It's doubling my anxiety and I'm feeling like I can't even have a wedding at this point. We've told her that we want her support more than anything. Any ideas for getting her onboard? Is this hopeless?
Viva Las Vegas
This isn't about Chicago versus Detroit.
This is about you vs. your mother and her anxiety over your striking out on your own.
Your mother isn't handling her anxiety well at all, and no amount of carefully considered spreadsheets and slide shows will work with her. The more you pretend that you're the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, the more she'll up the ante.
You need to go home for a visit, just you -- no fiance. Sleep in your old bed. Sit on the porch with your mother and talk. Take your wedding file with you but don't pull it out unless she wants to see it and can behave.
Stop with the spreadsheets. Just go ahead and make your plans and do your best to understand your mother's sadness while at the same time refusing to allow her to manipulate you. Some of her arguments are bizarre, and you should assume that they convey the level of her desperation -- unless there is something even more serious going on. Go home and find out.
Sometimes, showing up means everything. You're demonstrating that, no matter where you may be living, you'll always know where "home" is. That might be all your mother needs.
I just finished reading a letter from "Just Her Mom," regarding her daughter, who is a lesbian, and the playground taunts that she was concerned would be thrown at her future grandchildren.
I am the 14-year-old daughter of lesbian parents. When I was little, all the kids would talk about their parents. "I have two moms" was always greeted with either "Okay" or "Cool."
Young kids have an amazing ability to accept people for their differences. When I first met a good friend of mine (this was in third grade) and we exchanged parent stories, she quickly informed me that she had two moms too, only her dad had divorced one and now lived with the other.
With divorces, single parents and grandparents as guardians to name a few, a same-sex household really isn't all that strange.
As I've gotten older, I've witnessed homophobia and stupid remarks among my classmates. There are always people who don't understand. But that hasn't affected my self-esteem or how I live my life. Having lesbian parents isn't the problem. If the grandchild's parents love him/her, I see no problems in the future.
Happy Kid With Two Moms
Every time I think that the world might actually be going to hell in a handbasket, I come across somebody like you. Thank you.
Write to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
(c)2005 by the Chicago Tribune
Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.