*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
When your child gets married, memories, hard times, and fun moments come to mind, and as a parent, you can get worried about whether the choice they made is the right one.
And doubts can still occur even on the wedding day after everything's been settled and planned and you walked the bride down the aisle. Is it fair to voice your concerns right after such a major event, though?
My friend Daniel has been married to his wife Paige for 28 years. Together they raised three kids, two sons, and one daughter. Paige was a full-time mom while Daniel worked hard to cover their bills for his wife and kids.
"We shared responsibilities in the best way. He never told me I was wasting time or money by being home, and I was so happy to look after our family and make sure the house was always neat and tidy. During the weekends, he also helped with the dishes and laundry, so I never got the impression he thought less of me for being a full-time mom," Paige said.
Her husband was happy they could afford to do this for their family and avoid having babysitters come over or asking the rest of their family to take turns watching their kids.
"It would have been stressful for our parents. They got tired too, and we couldn't expect them to always be at our house. Paige being home was the ideal option for all of us," Daniel said.
As time passed, their kids went to school and then to college, they made friends, and they started relationships.
"It was challenging to see them with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, to invite them over, and figure out if they were being treated right. We did that for all our kids and let them know our home is open to the people they love. They never hesitated to bring their partners to see us, and that way, we also knew they were ok," Paige said.
Once the teenage years and all the challenges related to high school passed and college came, things got more relaxed as their sons and daughter moved with friends for their studies.
"They each rented apartments with friends and visited us once every two months and during the holidays. It was very quiet, but after a while, we changed our habits, started gardening, and discovered new hobbies we couldn't try before," Paige said.
After they graduated from college, their kids started working and trying to get promoted.
"They got well-paying positions and worked hard to have successful careers in very different fields," the mom said.
The couple's daughter, Candace, was also in a relationship when she graduated, and two months after that, she moved in with her boyfriend, Phil.
"I like Phil a lot; he was a good cook, and he helped me whenever he came by with Candace. Unfortunately, my husband was always reserved, and he didn't speak much to him. He doesn't like that he earns less than our daughter," Paige said.
Once Candace and Phil moved in together, they adjusted to each other's habits and did housework and cooking together. They also realized they both wanted to have a family and be together for a long time.
Phil proposed four months after, and she said yes. They set the wedding date three months after the proposal, and both sets of parents contributed to making it happen for them.
"Me and Candace's mother-in-law went with her to choose a dress; we all looked at the menu, Candace decided which type of wedding cake would suit them, and we all got flowers and tasted every dish as we selected the music for the event," Paige recalls.
Through it all, Daniel supported his daughter whenever she asked him to step in, but he wasn't that excited about the wedding.
"I could tell he still hadn't warmed up to Phil. And that made me sad; we were going to be a family. It shouldn't be that way," Paige said.
On the wedding day, Phil walked Candace down the aisle and then celebrated with the rest of their friends and relatives. However, what he said at the end of the day made his daughter avoid him for a good while.
"We danced at her wedding; then I said don't like her husband; she hasn't spoken to me in 2 months. I don't think it was fair; I just told her how I felt. I didn't mean to offend anyone, and I didn't say she'd made a mistake. I don't understand why she won't talk to me," Daniel said.
Unfortunately, Candace got a very different idea about her dad's feelings, and she thinks he's not happy for her and isn't looking forward to being a grandad.
"If he doesn't like Phil, I'm sorry. We're together now, and any criticism is behind us. I don't want to talk to him, not for now. Saying that on my wedding day just gave me a bad memory on a day that should have been all about happy memories," Candace said,
Paige agrees her husband shouldn't have spoken out at that time but is still hopeful Candace will forgive him eventually.
How do you think this situation should be handled? Should Daniel visit his daughter and try to apologize? Would it be better to let her get in touch with him in her own time once she's forgiven him and is ready to move on?
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