“It’s their loss, not yours”

Dear Thriving Bride,

Of course it is easy to tell yourself this when it comes to your unavailable or incapable family of origin.   Last night, as PJ was standing in the kitchen fixing dinner, I remembered something we had talked about and wanted to address.  We’ve both been pretty lucky to have his mom both in the same town as us and super supportive as well.  Here’s to kick-ass mother-in-laws!

I have 68 more days until I say “I do.” Anyway, a few weeks ago we were having a conversation about my parents and had pretty much accepted that they were not going to attend the wedding without several conditions.  We spoke of PJ’s mom and how great it was to have her here, and he was honest and told me about how he would miss not having that “in law” support on my side.

It has been a few weeks since that conversation, but it still sticks with  me.  It made me really sad for myself and for him.  I did not feel sorry for myself, and there is a difference.  You see, I did not want my very own parents to be there for both of us in an unhealthy way, which has been the case so far.  I was not wishing for something I knew that I did not have.  Instead, I was lamenting the array of possibilities that could come out of the joining of our families in a truly supportive way.  That made me sad for me, and for Peter.

Yesterday as he was cooking I remembered that moment and I walked up to him and hugged him.  I told him I was sorry he would not have that presence for now, and I also told him how glad I was that my older sister was super supportive and would be there for the both of us.  Peter looked down at me and said “it’s their loss.”

The truth is, I have gone through so many emotions in the last few months, but this was a moment of inner joy.  It was a moment to revel in all that is true and wonderful and to let go of the rest.  I am marrying a truly wonderful man and my parents can choose to seize the opportunity to get to know him or not.  It is their choice, and their loss as well.

So, everyone has reasons for not showing up in your life at the moments that matter most.  There is a well known saying about abuse that goes something like this: “there are always reasons, but never excuses.”  Nothing can ever excuse the behavior no matter what reason your blood relatives give.  But, they do have their reasons and usually there will always be one reason or another.  So much is happening for you right now and is about to happen as you move closer to your wedding day.  Let them be who they are, grieve for the moments lost and allow yourself to feel sad.  And then, when you are clear about what a missed opportunity their choice is, find your dear fiance, hold him close and be grateful that you did not miss the opportunity to marry him.