The Things my Parents Said

Jay and I were, shall we say, far from effusive in public before we were married.

Mom said she wouldn’t have guessed we were that close to a proposal if I hadn’t been agonizing to her about my indecision.

So when Jay called the Saturday before Mother’s Day to ask if there were a time he could talk with my dad when I wasn’t around, well, she felt the need to give Dad a heads-up about what was coming.

She and I were out plant shopping for our garden when Jay asked my dad’s permission to propose.  Jay told me later the first thing my dad said was, “What do you think her answer will be?”

The next day my brother asked if I’d invited Jay to our Mother’s Day dinner.  Jay had told me the night before about his conversation with Dad, and I’d gotten all my defenses up again.

“No,”  I told Benjamin.  “It’s a family dinner.  And he’s *not* family.  That would just be too…” and I couldn’t find the word.  Dad was standing nearby and inserted, “Premature.”

“Yeah,” I said, grateful for a word with thinking about it.

My brother, usually less tuned-in to these subtleties, objected strongly.  “I don’t like that word,” he said.  “It implies something.”

On Monday morning, my parents corralled me before I left for work and told me what Jay had done on Saturday, asking if I knew.  I felt a bit protective of Jay at this point and said he’d told me himself the same day.  “Dad just told him it was okay to ask,” my mom said.  “We didn’t tell him you would marry him.”  My dad said, “When I prayed with him that morning, I prayed for you both.  Separately.”

“He didn’t tell me anything different,” I said.  I began to wonder if I seemed like the type to get married just because I was told to.

As the actual time of the proposal drew near (I knew Jay was waiting on finding the right ring before he asked, so the actual moment was unknown.  Yes, it was nerve wracking), I grew more sure of my want to accept him.  My mom asked me why, and in one of my pathetic attempts to describe something I couldn’t put words to, I said, “Mom, he adores me.”

“If he’s not the one you’re supposed to marry, someone else *will* adore you!” she said earnestly.


Later on, once we were actually engaged, mom would occasionally ask me if I “really want to do this.”

“This is your last chance to back out,” she would remind me.

But once I said yes I was ready to walk down the aisle.  So these repeated questions became more like confirmation than anything that would shake me.  Recently I brought this up at a family dinner (Mom’s questioning my assurance through the engagement) and Dad brushed it off.

“She did the same thing with us,” he said. “Clear up to the wedding day.”

In March they broke 35 years (if I’m doing my math right) and on Sunday Jay and I will hit 8 years.

We’ve never doubted it was the perfect decision.


Then, of course, I ought to add my grandmother’s first words on learning we were engaged.

She had never before said anything one way or the other (she wasn’t the type to “mettle” or even offer her opinion before it was asked) but as soon as I told her we were decided she clapped her hands once and said, “I’m so glad you didn’t let him get away!”

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