In Her Words
My Parents and the Married Me
How our relationship has changed since I said “I do”
By: Mayra David
My parents have always practiced very hands-on parenting. Even their moving across the country didn’t stop the discussions about the importance of getting renter’s insurance – or buying instead of renting, come to that. I’ve often wondered if they perhaps took a cue from Herodotus and the U.S. Postal Service and promised that neither snow, nor rain, nor college, nor age shall stay these courageous parents from swiftly delivering their concern and advice.
Though I’ve been frustrated at times, I admit I’ve always found their input and guidance invaluable. So I have mixed feelings about discovering the only caveat to that ancient Greek motto: marriage. Here are a few ways our parent-daughter relationship has changed since I became a married woman.
1. There are some things I’m not surprised they no longer insist on discussing every time we talk on the phone. Renter’s insurance, for one. Or any kind of insurance, really. My career choices and finances have also been moved down on the hot-topic list. If I know my parents, this is because they deem that such issues should be discussed between a married couple. And they’re right. If only I wouldn’t feel that tingling in my own tongue whenever I feel them bite down hard on theirs….
2. It was always a mystery to me how my parents could be so comfortable with the idea of me and marriage if they weren’t comfortable with the idea of me and dating, never mind sex. On their version of the Ten Commandments, the top three would have been Education first, Career above all and then Don’t settle down too early. All of these following two words: no and boys. Now all I can say is if I had a nickel for every time I heard the word grandchildren, I would be able to afford an apartment with a nursery.
3. I don’t think my parents ever put too much stock in gender roles – in any case, they never impressed them upon me. But I do see that when my husband and I go to visit my parents, the men often metaphorically retire into the cigar room to speak as men do. This does not bother me; in fact, I’m happy about the relationship they are building. But part of me wishes my father had that ease around me. My mother and I, by contrast, have found a whole new level of ease in our relationship, joking about men and talking more openly about love, relationships and the strength of women.