a mother’s approval

Originally written Feb 24, 2009

i ramble like it’s my job.

I’m working on not being a slave to my family’s approval of my choices. It’s difficult, since I like to get along with everyone and have their respect and excitement about what I’m doing. I am realizing slowly that it doesn’t matter in the long run, and they’ll still love me even if they don’t like what I like. Still, approval is something I hope for.

So I talked to my mother about my trip to Germany at some length last night. All she knew before was that I had a fabulous time and she saw some pics. She felt left out, so I didn’t mind telling some stories.

Well, after I waxed romantic about how much I care for him and such (while she typed on the computer, might I add. I could hear her), she goes:

“If you two are really serious, I just want to let you know that I don’t approve of you marrying a German and moving to Germany. I don’t want that at all. I wouldn’t pay for the wedding, so you’d better elope.”

wtf, mom.

I honestly thought she was kidding because my mother always wants the best for me and always has encouraged me in my dreams and relationships, even if she doesn’t think a guy’s right for me.

the problem is… she sounded really serious. No chuckle, nothing. I’m going to ask her to clarify, simply so I’m sure I’m not misunderstanding her. I really think that she meant it, though.

this may not seem like a big deal, but i wanted to vocalize it anyway. i know it’s hard to understand family dynamics from the outside.

My family’s like the mafia. We’re very loyal and loving to those inside the circle, but there’s a pretty intense trial period and an interrogation that goes on when the family meets the SOs. They all feel like they have the right to give permission for someone to date/marry their sister/brother/mother/daughter. I think my family’s really fun, but they’re very intimidating at the same time as being welcoming. It’s like “welcome to our home! before you get too comfortable, tell us exactly why you deserve to be with Julia.” If they don’t approve, the SO is not part of the club, and they will make it a point to remind you constantly why you shouldn’t be with them, teasing and declaring judgment.

1. She doesn’t know Stefan at all, and has no reason to dislike him (except that she knows he’s a non-christian, and i guess that ruins it for her right off the bat). I think this lack of personal knowledge freaks her out, and that’s why she doesn’t approve. Stefan honestly thinks she hates him.

2. Damn the wedding money. i’m the eloping type anyway. she previously promised me money from my dead father’s trust to help pay for a wedding–because both my siblings got some for their weddings–but if she doesn’t want to support me, i don’t care about the cash at all. not like that’s a motivator for changing my heart

3. I know I shouldn’t care about her approval, but I’m still very puzzled and surprised. I think a convo would smooth things out.

does family approval matter to you? be honest, because i expect a lot of the tough “not at all, i do what i want.” responses and i know i’m not alone



My life was dawdling in the Narthex of Cool (NC) before, but now it’s breaking all kinds of barriers into the Inner Sanctum of Radical (ISR).

It’s the little things, really: I just scored a bluetooth headset for 50% off when it wasn’t even on sale in the first place; I’m into a totally amazing guy and may get to be his totally amazing girlfriend; Christmas with my family was great, and I adore them because they’re just as nutty as I am; I get to go to Germany in one month!  I’m becoming more gutsy and honest about how happy I am with my life changes lately; My step-sister and I are real friends which adds to the very short list of women whom I trust with my true self; I’m having one of the easiest work weeks I’ve had in months (sorry CTI, I won’t bleed overtime this week!); My college friend just got engaged; and I found a great bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding.

And hell, the sun was shining today.

Welcome to the ISR.

What have I done?

[Edited Feb 2018, nine years later. Green text has happened since initial publishing.]

I can’t say no to a list!

So the rule is to “italicize” what you’ve already done…

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (well, sketched)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee