Before Jesse and I visited Cali, my mom had warned me that she was going to sit Jesse down and have a serious conversation with him about the future of our relationship. At first, I was ok with it. After all, if my mom wanted to light a fire under Jesse’s ass, then go ahead. I’m tired of trying.
However, shortly before we flew out, I got the sense that my mom wasn’t planning on having a nice, civilized conversation with Jesse. I was under the impression (just by the nature of our phone calls leading up to the visit) that the conversation was going to go badly. I envisioned my mom just yelling at Jesse and me, telling us how she doesn’t approve of our ‘lifestyle.’ She’s so old-fashioned.
I was worried that the conversation would get ugly and ruin the budding relationship between Jesse and my mom. Jesse really likes my mom. I can tell. Despite her ‘quirkiness,’ it’s obvious that she loves me and has proven that she would do anything for me. Jesse understands where she’s coming from and why she’s crazy sometimes. And my mom, although she claims to be warming up to him still, likes Jesse or at least thinks he’s a good guy (which he is). No need to squash the budding future husband/mother-in-law relationship. So I prepared myself for World War III.
Instead, I got nothing. My mom and sister were on their best behavior and caused practically no drama. Being in their presence was actually pleasant, rather than tiring. It was a nice visit overall. It was so nice that I got the impression that my mom had changed her mind about sitting down with Jesse and having ‘The Talk.’
The morning we left for our (dreaded) flight back to DC, Jesse and I were rushing to get ready. Neither of us packed the night before so we were already behind by the time we woke up. I totally expected to stop by Starbucks to get some breakfast before our flight. So imagine my surprise when my mom came into my room while Jesse was showering and asked me, “Would you like me to make you breakfast?” A home cooked meal right before flying back to the God-awful East Coast (no offense) with no decent authentic Mexican food? My stomach wanted me to jump at the offer. However, I knew we were short on time. I told my mom, “Thanks but we’re in a hurry. We’re just going to pick up something on the way.” I saw the disappointment in my mother’s eyes when she asked again, “That’s ok. I’ll make it quick.” I didn’t have the heart to say no this time.
By the time I finished packing my suitcase and Jesse was out of the shower, my mom had cooked the perfect Mexican breakfast—huevos con chorizo and tortillas. Yum! Jesse and I sat down quickly and started eating as my mom drank a glass of tea at the table with us (she wasn’t hungry so she didn’t partake in her feast). Jesse and I had inhaled the food and we were about to get up and take our dishes to the sink when my mom said, “No, wait! I want to talk to you. The two of you.” DAMN! We were so close to walking out of the house never having heard my mom’s lecture. I knew I should’ve refused that breakfast. That will be the last time I let my belly do the thinking.
I sat there nervously, unsure of what my mom was going to say. I was expecting a lecture. I was expecting her to get angry. I was expecting her to just go off like I’ve seen her do whenever I’ve done something she doesn’t approve of.
Instead, my mom spoke to Jesse from the heart. She said, “I know that my daughter loves you. I can tell she does from the way she looks at you to the way she treats you. And she tells me that she loves you and that you are the one she wants to be with. I need to know how do you feel about her?” Jesse replied calmly and with certainty, “I love her very much.” My mom continued, “I need to know what your intentions are. What do you see in your future? What about marriage?” Again, Jesse calmly answered, “I definitely want to marry your daughter.” What my mom said next, I will never forget.
She said, “I was lucky to be married to my husband for 14 happy years. I loved him very much and he loved me. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes it was easy. In our marriage, we grew together. You need to communicate and share things with each other. Because if you don’t, you will be living separate lives and that is not what a marriage is. Even though we were married for a short time before my husband passed away, I will never regret marrying him. It was the best decision I ever made.
Since my husband died, I have been both a mother and a father to Liz. I care for her in a special way. I want her to be happy. And she says that being with you will make her happy. And I hope that one day you will make the same choice I did in getting married.”
I will remember this forever for the following reasons:
- She surprised me by not going all crazy on us.
- My mom actually spoke from her heart
- She spoke to me and Jesse as adults
- I know that it wasn’t easy for her to say what she said and she said it anyways.
- I know that she said this because she loves me.
Jesse and I haven’t spoken about this conversation since it happened (other than turning to each other immediately afterwards and saying, “That actually wasn’t so bad.”). But I feel a lot better.
This weekend while shopping on Amazon (I got a new flat iron!), I did a search for engagement rings just for kicks. It took me to a part of the website where you can practically design your own engagement ring (you chose the cut, setting, clarity, etc. that you want). I turned to Jesse and showed him. “Hey,” I asked, “Did you know that you can make your own engagement ring on Amazon?” His reply was a cool, calm, collected (and seemingly interested), “No, I didn’t know that.”
What’s the significance, you ask? Jesse didn’t flinch when I mentioned the words ‘engagement’ and ‘ring’ in the same sentence together.
Now that’s progress.