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No Blessings For You!

Here’s the back story: My boyfriend & I recently got engaged. Now I am 18, he is 21 and we’ve been dating for almost a year (we’ve known each other for about 2 ½ years). I can understand the viewpoint of “you’re too young” and “you haven’t known each other that long,” so in the interest of good family relations (and saving up enough money not to be on the dole), we’re waiting 2-3 years to tie the knot. We haven’t even thought about setting a date yet!

When he proposed to me, we were on a 2-week trip with his family, visiting out of town relatives. On our way through a certain state, we had arranged to stop by my grandparents’ house and they could meet my new fiancé (this was 2 days after he’d proposed). I’ve always been pretty close with this set of grandparents, visiting them yearly & occasional phone calls (they live in a different state), especially my gma.

Well we got there and after initial introductions I asked if we could show them around the property – my gparents have a large, beautiful property which I know my gpa is quite proud of. My gma declined & told us to go on without her. We did, and spent about an hour walking around & conversing with my gpa. There was no mention of the engagement at any time through out this, and when I had previously called and announced it, my gpa had said, “Congratulations,” a bit awkwardly. I had thought nothing of this, as he’d never met my fiancé and was not much of a talker.

When we got back to the house, we continued to make small talk, my fiancé & his dad with my gpa, and my FMIL & I with my gma. Since I hadn’t spoken with her personally about the engagement, I showed her my ring and said (quite excitedly), “Look, Grandma! Did you hear we’re engaged??” (Biiiig smile.)

Here’s the part that blew me away. She looked at me with a pained grimace and said, “Oh yes. Well, you’re not getting married for another ten years, RIGHT??” I said that it would be a few years, yes, but probably not a decade! She sighed and said, “Oh. Well I wish I could say congratulations, but I simply can’t! I wish you weren’t making such a big mistake with your life, but I guess I can’t stop you…”

I was absolutely speechless! Even my dad, who has a history of being overprotective, had simply wished me the best and told me that he’s proud of me! I was gathering my wits (and trying not to cry) when my amazing FMIL – bless her heart – quickly changed the subject to a less volatile one and got my gma off her tangent.

The kicker? When I got home, I cried to my Mom about what had happened. She called my gparents, who (instead of apologizing) gave her a list of complaints they had about our visit! She requested that I call and apologize to them immediately. After some arguing, I did call and leave a message to the effect of “so sorry for the offense,” yes I know, not a real apology. Well, it seemed to work, because about a week later I got a card from gma apologizing for her rudeness.

So things are alright between us again, I guess, but I really just wanted to make a point here – even if you don’t personally approve of someone’s choice of marriage or mate, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep your manners in and at least WAIT til they’re gone to rant about it!!! 0920-09

When “foot-in-mouth” episodes like this occur, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that what is happening is that someone’s vision for how your life will be is suddenly changed to be something completely different.  Grandma may have always dreamed of you going to college or having a career and WHAMMO! Reality isn’t going down the same path as her dreams.  It’s a shock to the system and grandma hasn’t had time to absorb it all and change her perspective so she blurts out stupid comments.  I  know this because *I’ve* done it.   My own mother did it upon hearing my engagement announcement.

The good news is that nearly always people eventually realign their hopes for your future to reflect the current reality and they come on board to support you.   That grandma can apologize for her rudeness is a great sign that she will be rejoicing at your wedding several years from now so don’t hold it against her.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sheleo September 24, 2009, 7:37 am

    The Grandmother didn’t apologize, she expected the granddaughter to for some perceived rudeness.

  • jenna February 15, 2010, 12:22 am

    Who says the poster isn’t going to go to college or have a career? She can be married and do those things, too.

  • chatnoir March 18, 2010, 11:44 pm

    I agree with Jenna. I’m in a very similar situation. Granted, I’m 20 and have been with my future husband for over three years. But Yes, we’re still rather young. We have no intentions of putting our dreams or career paths on hold because of our relationship. My fiance would be horrified if anyone suggested that our marriage would somehow limit my future.

  • kingshearte April 21, 2010, 10:49 am

    While I entirely agree with Jenna and chatnoir, in Gramma’s defence, in her generation, getting married usually did mean axactly that. My own grandmother, who was by all accounts (including my grandfather’s) bloody brilliant, and could have had an amazing career, gave that up to marry my grandfather.

    In Gramma’s mind, it *is* an either-or situation, and I guess she was upset to see it going in that direction instead of the one she expected. Which doesn’t excuse her rudeness about it, but it’s maybe a slight mitigating factor? I’d be curious to know if she became more amenable to the engagement once she realized that granddaughter could have both.

  • Offshoreoildude October 17, 2010, 8:12 am

    I think the OP should have dug a little deeper and asked “Why”…. She might have been able to mollify her Gma’s concerns right there and then!