You’ll understand when you’re…

UGH! That phrase! It seems like you hear it your entire life!

“You’ll understand when you’re older” “You’ll understand when you have a job””You’ll understand when you have bills to pay, get married, HAVE KIDS”

And no one likes to use that phrase more than mothers: yours, someone else’s, your mom friends.  As someone who is having their first kid, I’m sort of in between the mom world and the child-free world. But I see both sides so clearly these days. And I gotta be honest, in the words of Tina Fey..”There’s been some girl on girl crime here.”

So I came up with a few do’s and don’ts for moms and their child free friends that can help us all get a long better and neither party feels shitty about the other.

  • Mothers have used “you’ll understand when you’re a mom” on their child-free friends for decades and it is shitty as hell. First, you are assuming that the child-free friend WANTS a child and second, you are assuming they can have a child.  Also, it’s patronizing, these aren’t little kids, these are your friends. If you dont feel like they are seeing things from your perspective….use your words and tell them just that. Of course there are certain things you don’t get unless you experience it. For example, I will never be President, so I don’t know the stresses that go along with it. That’s why you see ex-POTUS’s hanging out with each other, no matter what their party affiliation. They just get what it’s like to deal with foreign leaders and the press and whatever else Presidents do from day to day.
  • Child free ladies, can you stop turning up your nose at invites you get that may involve your mom friend’s kids? They are trying, okay? They want to see you but the babysitter cancelled/dad has to work/ locked themselves out of the house. I think moms more than anything NEED that shred of their “old life”. They want to talk about your life and fashion and movies they can’t see and shows they watch on Hulu while breast pumping at 3am.  So please, be patient and be ready to talk about “Empire”. In addition, please don’t stop asking your mom friends to do stuff! They want to be a part of everything, they just can’t all the time.
  • Moms, stop telling your child free friends that they “don’t know real love” because they do not have kids. That’s bullshit. It is a completely different kind of love that you experience, but it’s definitely not the only real kind of love out there. The idea that someone can’t experience love because they don’t care for a child is ridiculous!
  • Both moms and their CF friends, don’t throw your life choices in the other’s face. Moms, you get to snuggle little ones and CF’s you get to travel, party, shop for yourself guilt free and …..okay, I clearly haven’t yet embraced motherhood. But you see what I mean. You don’t have to keep reminding me about your disposable income and I won’t tell you about the acid reflux that wakes me up at 2 a.m. (I really need to start getting used to this mom thing).
  • Moms have to stop assuming that every woman wants what you have or that something is wrong with women who don’t. And CF’s…that goes for you too. Women who want kids aren’t crazy or trapped in the patriarchal machine, they just want something that you don’t. Do you judge your friend who wants a salad for lunch when you want a burger (of course you do, that was a bad example) But you get my drift.

We are all in this together, ladies. So let’s just cut each other some slack.

My sister is gonna hate this…

I realized that last year, wedding year, I wrote posts about my mom and dad on their respective days. But it being siblings day, I can tell you a little about my sister – my matron of honor (if we are keeping the wedding theme going). First of all, she will hate this because feelings are not her thing. But buckle up, sis, I’m bringing all the feelings.

So there I was, sitting for the toasts at the reception and the best man finishes a really beautiful speech. I expect my dad to start or my maid of honor to go up. My sister hates being the center of attention (yes, we are opposites) and had decided not to give a matron of honor toast. But as I looked around for my dad, my sister appears at the front of the hall with the microphone in hand. She tells the story of our complicated childhood of her constant torments (she tried to sell me outside a grocery store when I was a baby for 5 cents) and she talks about how totally different we are. Then she says we are the best of friends now. And I was a puddle. She of course ended the speech by tormenting me one more time. But that’s my sister. She’s surprising and complicated.

Actually, she’s simple and complicated. She’s simple in that she says exactly what she thinks. There is no guessing on subtext or implications. My sister is the most honest, straightforward human I have ever known. Sometimes to a fault. I’m the opposite. I’m not a liar, my sister would have never put up with that crap. No, I’m a diplomat — younger siblings often are the mediators and the family– I say only what needs to be said or I say the things that you don’t want to hear in a way that you might be okay hearing them. Not my sister, if that dress is ugly, you will KNOW that dress is ugly. And she isn’t trying to hurt your feelings, that’s what you have to know about my sister. In fact, she’s trying to help you. She wants you to look good. This was something I had to remind myself while we were wedding dress shopping. She wants me to look good, she wants me to be gorgeous on my wedding day. That is why she said that the strapless number with the ruffles I loved made me look like a marshmallow. My sister would never do something out of malice…she is far too kind for that.

And THAT is where she is so complicated. You see this honest, doesn’t give a fuck exterior and you think she’s tough, she’s hard, she doesn’t care about what you think or anything. That is where you don’t know my sister like I do. She is incredibly kind. She is so amazingly unselfish and giving. She’s generous…to a fault. And she’s so funny. My sister makes me laugh more than most people. She’s got this great brand of self deprecating humor that comes directly from my grandmother. My Mimi. When Mimi passed away, for a while, the only person that I wanted to talk to was my sister. Because she made me laugh, she let me cry and then she made me stop…because all those pesky feelings.

But here is her secret: she’s got more feelings than any of us. Underneath it all, she’s sensitive. I don’t think she cried during my wedding ceremony, but at the end of the father/daughter dance, I snuck a peek at her wiping her eyes and sniffling.

My sister has taught me how to not take shit which I am still working on.  My sister has taught me not to care what other people think of me.  My sister has taught me to step outside my comfort zone. She’s taught me about honesty, about expectations, about life…

I’m so lucky that she is my big sister. She was my first friend, my first enemy and my first teacher.

DelGuercio0497

All The Feelings

I’m writing this post-wedding and post honeymoon, so this won’t be as emotionally charged as it would have been say….the day after the wedding. When all the feelings happened.

First, let’s talk wedding weekend. It was amazing. A friend told me that she would have told everyone she knows to elope while she was planning her wedding, until she actually experienced the wedding weekend. I felt the exact same way. We had a blast! For a while before the wedding I started to second guess everything I planned, I thought I compromised things I shouldn’t have, I started to be afraid that I would regret this and that, your regular panic attack inducing thought spirals….but it was all amazing. Thanks to our designer, caterer, photographer, BAND (AMAZING), cake baker, coordinator, our friends, and our families. Notice I did not say anything about our shuttle service provider…’nuff said.

If you are planning a wedding right now and want to throw up your hands and run to Vegas, read this and know — it is worth it. As long as you let go of everything on the morning before your wedding. Everything is in motion by then and all you need to do is be the bride. All the planning and all the stressing, it is worth it.

There were hitches, of course (see above shuttle service comment), but for the most part, it was the exact wedding I planned.

Then the morning after happened. We had a lovely brunch at the hotel where we were all staying and as I said goodbye to some guests that afternoon it started to dawn on me…. this is over. The planning is over. The anticipation is over. All those reasons to get together with friends and family this past year…over.

I am very close with my friends, to the point that someone remarked that they were surprised my friends weren’t coming on my honeymoon. When you move away from home and live in a big city your friends become your family. And since moving to LA, I missed my second family. But having a wedding, bridal showers, and a bachelorette party gave so many reasons to see them. And planning the wedding in my hometown gave me extra reasons to see my real family.

Plus, I wasn’t a bride anymore, I would never be a bride again. I know it sounds bratty, but it’s fun to be the bride! A couple of friends are getting married next year and I found myself being jealous of them. Jealous of the whole journey they are about to take. The way I’m jealous of people that have just started watching “The Wire” for the first time. It’s exciting and scary and everyone walks away with their own take on it. When I told my husband (eep!) that, he was like “have you forgotten the last year?!”. I guess so, I guess it’s a little like a mother forgetting how childbirth feels once she’s holding her baby.

On top of all that, I was exhausted. I didn’t sleep for the last few days before the wedding from all the stress and excitement. I was this raw, tired, premenstrual (oh yeah) nerve.

But I was also beyond happy and relieved. We had pulled this thing off! And I had married this incredible person who I couldn’t imagine loving more yet find myself falling more and more in love. I am now someone’s wife.

I feel bad for the amount of crying I did on my first full day of marriage. But because my husband and I have been together for a while now, he got it. Thank God for the honeymoon where I didn’t cry at all (until we left because it was perfect and I didn’t want to come home).

And now we are married…. I have lots of feelings about that.

1477501_10205417668991042_583609451756491967_n

Father of the Bride

I couldn’t really decide the best way to pay tribute to my dad, so this is sort of two blogs in one.

“FORCE FIELD”

My sister got married when I was 19. I remember dancing with him at her wedding and promising that I wouldn’t get married for a long time and it wouldn’t be a big affair…..I kept one of those promises.

Honestly? I’ve got a bone to pick with my dad. I don’t think it would have been so difficult for me to find the right guy if he hadn’t been such an outstanding model of what a man should be. Not just a man in a marriage and a man as a father, but a man as a human being. Because of my father, I expected the man I marry to be strong, stable, reliable, funny, intelligent and giving.

Believe it or not, it was a lot to ask of all the myriad of jerks and hipsters that I dated in my 20’s. In fact, I probably went out of my way to avoid guys like my dad in an attempt to not be like my mother (see Mother’s Day post). But in the back of my mind I knew it was inevitable. Like my sister, a mini version of my grandmother, married a not so mini version of my grandfather (my brother-in-law clocks in at 6’5), my eventual marriage would be Jackie and Dave part two.

My dad always made me feel safe. I looked for my mom’s approval first in a lot of things I did in my life. But I looked to my dad for the final nod. Not because of some patriarchal thing in my family. If anything our family was a matriarchy, with my mother and grandmother as very strong forces in my sister and I’s life. No, I looked to my dad because not only was he able to look at everything logically and unemotionally (unlike my mother and I) but because he just has this air about him that makes everything feel like whatever he said to do was the right thing, the best thing. Even the unsafe things I chose to do. (The unsafe things I chose to TELL him about at least).

There is this great quote that I post every Father’s Day on Facebook, where he is thankfully not a member, in his honor that is the perfect tribute to everything he did for me.

“There’s a look little girls have who are adored by their fathers,’ Bea said. ‘It’s that facial expression of being totally impervious to the badness of the world. If they can keep that look into their twenties, they’re pretty much okay, they’ve got a force field around them.”

—Maile Meloy, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

 

“WILLIE, MICKEY, AND THE DUKE”

Every relationship has a language and my dad and I speak baseball. My father loves America’s past time with such a passion. And my sister and my mother never really loved it. But I fell in love at some point when I was 7 or 8. My father would take us to ball games on every family vacation and he and I would sit and keep score while my mother and sister would sit bored eating hot dogs. My sister was the athlete of the family but I played softball. My dad coached me until I was 13 until coaching teenage girls became too much. But I kept playing until I graduated high school. After high school when I went away to London my dad and I would talk, not about what I was doing or what was going on at home, but we would talk about baseball. When I was so lonely in my first year in New York I would call my dad on Sunday mornings when I knew my mother wasn’t home to ask all her questions about my life (I’m still broke, sad and tired) but we would talk about baseball. When I first started dating my fiance…..my dad and I talked baseball instead. But when it really mattered, when I was faced with some pretty big decision in my life, I could always call on a Sunday morning and talk it out, and then talk baseball. It’s kind of appropriate that Father’s Day is on a Sunday.

When I was a kid, my dad had this cassette that I played until it broke, “Baseball’s Greatest Hits”. It had Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First” and songs about baseball greats like Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson and my dad’s favorite, Say Hey Willie Mays. It had a few general songs about baseball and one song called “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request”. As a Cub fan it hits home “to the home of the brave, the land of the free and the door mat of the National League”. And to my father, it was a hilarious song. We listened to it all the time.  My sister and my mom thought it was weird and morbid how much we loved this song. So when I told him I was getting married, the first decision we made was to dance to that song at my wedding. Before I booked a band, caterer, found a dress, found a venue or anything, we had the song…..now we just have to get the band to play it.

 

 

Becky and Dad 1990

(Side note: My mother is the photographer here and while she is a multi-talented…photography is not one of them)

Mother of The Bride

On Facebook for Mother’s Day tons of my friends are posting pictures of them and their moms from their wedding day. And for the first time in this whole process, I got really excited.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to get married. But when you get engaged a year and a half out from your wedding, it can be hard to maintain excitement all the time. To be honest, I was starting to worry that I was a weird bride….until I logged into Facebook this morning and saw all those young brides and their happy mama’s posed in various states of wedding day bliss.

I started to tear up, imagining what that moment was like for each girl. The one in just her veil with jeans and a button down shirt (don’t want to mess up the hair) holding glasses of champagne. Were they nervous?  The picture of the girl and her mom as she is about to walk down the aisle. What was her mom whispering to her? The party shot of mom and daughter dancing. What song was playing? Was it their song?

I imagine that on the day of my wedding, my mom will be the rock she has always been for me. She will be the person that keeps us all smiling if the hair and makeup people are running late or the limo to the church breaks down. Because that is what she does. When things are bad, she smiles, and she finds reasons to be happy. And she encourages me to do the same.

I’m lucky that I’m basically a carbon copy of my mother. I used to not think this was a good thing. I think we all try to rebel against the inevitability of being our parents. But I’m lucky that I had such an amazing role model.  I think I have a little less of her Pollyanna outlook than she would like me to have, but that’s just my father’s pragmatism kicking in as I get older. But I have her patience, I have her can do attitude (most of the time), and I can only hope that I have half as much of her compassion and kindness.

When my fiance and I were picking a verse for our wedding, we went through all the obvious choices including, of course, 1 Corinthians. To be honest, while it is a beautiful verse about love and what love is, we were looking for something that meant a lot to us. We ended up with the same verse my parents had at their wedding, Ruth 1:16.

But in re-visiting 1 Corinthians, it seems more appropriate for Mother’s Day than for any other occasion. Read it again and think about the time you vomited on your mom’s favorite blouse, think about all the terrible school plays she smiled during, the ballgame’s in the scorching heat that she enthusiastically cheered through, the tears and snot she wiped with her other favorite blouse, the money she spent on your braces and not on buying a new favorite blouse…..your teenage years….

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Mom and Young Becky Easter

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

 

We Are Family….

Now it’s just him and me. Imagine that rhymed better.

And didn’t make you cringe.

I don’t know if you are close with your family. But I am. I talk to either my mother or my sister at least once a day. When I’m not freelancing in an office, it can be upwards of 3 times a day. I bounce all my big decisions off them. I listen and care about what they think about everything from curtains to careers. They are the first to hear big news, good or bad.

Then there was a shift. I can’t really pinpoint the moment. I think something had happened to me at work. Something crappy. And the first person I called was my fiance, who was my boyfriend at the time. I remember thinking when that happened, that things were serious. And we should all get used to this new person taking priority.

Marriage takes it to the next level. My mom will always be my mom, my sister will always be my sister. But my soon-to-be husband, well he is my family now. The two of us (and our dog that we get) we are the family unit now. I think the misconception is that once you have kids, then you are a family. I think you and your husband are a family the moment you say “I do”. You have to start making choices that benefit the two of you. Where previously you made sacrifices for your mom, dad, sister, brother, etc…you now put that person in front of everyone else and their happiness and well being is the top priority.

This is one of the challenges of getting married when you are older. Your immediate family is so used to having you all to themselves, not sharing your time or loyalty, that sometimes, it is a hard shift to make. For all of you. Nowhere is this more apparent than when we talk about where to spend the holidays. I’ve actually never been to his family’s Christmas, but he has been to my family twice. I’ve always spent Thanksgiving with his family. And Easter. But now, to add to the complication of having families in two different places, we now live in a different place. Before, in New York, we could get to his family in New Jersey and Connecticut easily. Now it is hard to get either to New York or Memphis (where I’m from). In a way it sets the families on equal playing fields. But in some ways…no, in most ways….it is hardest on my family. My new family.

Him and Me.

When it was just me, I could fly to anywhere my family needed me to be. I slept on couches, blow up mattresses and shared beds with my niece. Now, I am a we and we need a bed. Logistics are harder and my decisions have become our decisions. I have to do what is best for us now. That’s a hard thing for me to do. I like making people happy, especially my family. I like doing what they want me to do. And for the most part, what is best for them is also best for me. But sometimes, it won’t be. Sometimes the best thing for him and me will not be what my family wants me to do.

That is a hard thing for me to wrap my head around. My not being single doesn’t just effect friendships and the way the outside world views me, but it impacts the dynamic of my immediate family, and not through numbers but through allegiances. On top of that, I have this whole OTHER family, his. And they are great, lovely people who have made me feel welcome from day one. But my presence in my fiance’s life directly effects their interactions as well. It’s complicated. And you certainly don’t want to feel like you are taking over or changing everyone’s lives so much.

But recently, my mom was pitching me the idea of a unity candle of the ceremony. Look, it isn’t my thing nor is that sand in the jar or whatever. Although it did get me thinking about my family. And his. And this new thing we are doing. This new family we are forming.

All this is not to say that I still don’t call my mom on a bad day. Or text my sister with terrific news. Now it’s just my second call or text, not the first.

Except for the day we got engaged….that day they were my first call.