Nice is not important

I never claimed to be nice. I can be kind, but I detest niceness—it is pretending to be someone you aren’t in order to gain social approval. I’m not looking for anyone else’s approval. I already have my own. -Holly Lisle

My youngest three understand this quite well, and at various times of their lives have been quite upset when I haven’t  sugar coated respsonses. At the same time, they can depend on me for truth, objective opinion, and support. Unlike other teenagers who I hear complaining that “my parents think that everything that I do is great” – mine don’t share that. I always love them. Always, even when I don’t like what they are doing.

Separation of behavior and person. A good person can do stupid things; a great child can not try her/his best. We are all stuck with being ordinary most days.

I can love all four without agreeing with what one of them does or understanding why. I can also understand why a path is chosen, but choose not to support the decision. This is not the military; I am not obligated to support a commander and make those decisions my own. They are my children, entitled to do what they like with their lives. Doesn’t mean that I have to support actions, only them.

All of this is a long explanation as to why I am sitting here at 1245 on the 23rd, a beautiful Saturday afternoon while my DH, the teens, and a good friend are on their way to Weißloch for the Eldest’s wedding. After long thought, I simply could not go. Her husband is a nice man, he loves her. The ceremony they had in Denmark last year was civil. It bothered me, but not that much.

Since they had been together almost three years, I was over the worst of it. Sitting Shiva would be pointless and harmful to both of us. She doesn’t really care about religion all that much, her fundamental morals are solid. His mother cares, I think a lot. This daughter has always wanted a wedding, complete with dress, flowers, etc. They are doing this today, at his parent’s church.

And I simply can not go. By going, I would be supporting the wedding: the idea, execution, the ceremony. She is entitled to do what makes her happy. I don’t have the right to thwart her happiness by making a big deal about the whole thing. Quiet is better. I will attend the reception tonight. It is not a religious ceremony. This takes me back to the original quote – yes, I might be sending a message to others by not being there. There have been no family photos scheduled. Almost no one who is attending has ever met me. I am not sure that my absence will be noted.  If it is, it is a statement about me, not her. What others will think is less important to me than how I would feel about myself in compromising a fundamental belief.

I don’t believe in mixed marriages and especially don’t care to see any of my children in a christian wedding ceremony of any kind. One of the hazards of being a politically liberal person: I believe in the right of an individual to chose for themselves even when I don’t care for the choice.

She has to live her life, and I have to be comfortable in my own skin.

The shawl was finished and she will be wearing it tonight at the reception.

(Post script – the reception was lovely. Lots of their friends and relatives with children all over the place. The Grenzhof is lovely with excellent food. The musicans were good and almost everyone danced a lot. As in salsa and rock. The Eldest is speaking to me. I will try to upload pix later. The night was really warm, too warm for a shawl…..)

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2 Responses to Nice is not important

  1. Ruth says:

    As another mother of four children, and as a person of strong beliefs, I totally see your point. I hope this choice on your part does not result in lasting ill-will with your daughter and her “new” family. Peace be with you all today, and in the future.

  2. Angeluna says:

    Wow, Holly. This was a tough decision for you. I do see your point. May things go as well as possible and I wish you and your daughter much happiness in the future.

    Although I don’t think of myself as “nice” in a superficial way, when faced with a similar situation, I went. A key factor in my decision was I had sons, not daughters. My eldest son married a fundamental Christian, far, far from my beliefs. At the mother’s insistence, the children go to a private religious school that teaches evolution is a lie. But, although my DIL knows I don’t agree, if I open my mouth, she can cut me off any access to the grandchildren. Her children were told I would go to Hell as I didn’t believe as they did. It was very upsetting to them, they cried.

    Difficult situation. Mouth zipped is the only policy I can follow.

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