Parental Approval

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

I was watching a Netflix show “The Wedding Coach” because I can not, not watch a wedding show on Netflix and they know it. It’s a fun yet kind of sensitive kind of show. The host is a comedian and she comes and helps the couple getting married figure out last minute things. Usually, a conversation needs to be had with someone in the family because family members will never not add stress. And also they need to get that last, we don’t have a wedding singer task done. She also brings another comedian or actor in to help as well.

I enjoyed the show. Again, I will watch every single wedding or matchmaker show there is. I think the host does a great job of adding humor and levity at just the right moments while also being able to say to the groom’s friend, you gotta chill sir. There’s even an episode where she’s able to help a couple to not get married to save their relationship.

Here’s my favorite moment. I did not cry or get emotional much watching the show because it didn’t warrant that emotional response from me. However, there was one couple and spoiler alert as always so stop reading if you’re going to be devastated by a reality show spoiler. The couple was pregnant and had not yet told anyone they were pregnant with a few days left before the wedding.

The daughter seemed to be very nervous about telling her parents especially her mom. I got the sense that it was just tradition. You get married and then you get pregnant like the olden days. I understand many people hold on to those traditions and value them deeply. This young woman seemed nervous to disappoint her parents. That’s what hooked me in on this story.

As grown adults living our best and worst lives we often still seek or at the least worry about the approval of our parents or parental figures in our lives. The people who loved and cared for us growing up, making sure we had the best chances in life and wisdom to live it. Those people we just want to be proud of us.

A friend or cousin or stranger can carry some forms of judgement that may hurt our feelings but often don’t hold the same weight that the parental figure does. I mean especially if that cousin was right there with you getting into trouble most of the time.

So the young woman wanted and needed to tell her parents she was pregnant even though she looked in her dress not quite pregnant but maybe a little bloated. In her final fitting her mom noticed a little belly and mentioned it in passing. That’s when she told her. To my surprise because of the anxiety of the daughter, the mom was elated. She did the whole loud exuberant expressions and hugged her daughter.

Then the mother called her husband down. He comes running like “what’s wrong, what happened” and they tell him. He responded in such a dad who knows how to love his adult children kind of way, “oh yeah, okay! I’m gonna be a grandfather then?” He hugs his daughter and then he starts teasing his wife about her being grandmom.

At that moment all the tears came to my face. I don’t even know if they even went to my eyes first because my face was just suddenly wet. Why? Because, I think about all the ways I’ve lived my life differently from my parents and imagine some of the ways I may continue to live differently in the future. Will my parents still be happy for me, will they still see my excitement as something to celebrate even if I do things not just differently but, not as they would generally approve?

I happen to know for some of my friends the answer is no. Their parents and loved ones do not accept who they are or the kinds of decisions they’ve made. They’ve been cut off, estranged, and abandoned. It hurts because the love is put to the test and it failed. The child is left having to find stand ins, surrogates of love.

I also happen to know that for others the love is there and shines bright. It’s scary either way because you don’t know if they’ll be excited or not, if they’ll support you or not, the unknown holds so much angst. Yet there is no way to know until we say it and jump in. When we do there may be tears and boy do I hope they are tears of relief and joy. We are still searching for approval and ultimately a symbolic gesture of love and acceptance.

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A Black woman of many talents. Comedian, writer, producer, and human person.

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Cecily Alexandria

Cecily Alexandria

A Black woman of many talents. Comedian, writer, producer, and human person.

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