|BWS Stories - "Reflections of the Way Life Used to Be"...Times Have Changed|
"Reflections of the Way Life Used to Be"...Times Have Changed - Swan Song Ruffles Feathers
Kerry Peresta writes a weekly women's humor column entitled,
"Empty Nesting is for the Birds," and lives in Pierre, SD with
her husband. She has raised and (hopefully) launched four children, has
two adorable and quite intelligent grandchildren; and recently escaped
a 20-year advertising career. Read more of her work at www.emptynesting.webs.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
Swan Song Ruffles Feathers
What has a plunging neckline, shoulder-dangling earrings, skin-tight
jeans, French-manicured fingers and toes; a cocktail in one hand and a karaoke
songbook in the other?
Answer: my oldest daughter at her bachelorette party the night before
I was honored to be included
among my daughter’s best friends as she enjoyed her final swan song as a
single. I am completely out of touch with the twenty-something bar scene, and
for that I am grateful. It seems to include a little too much flesh on display,
which is alternately covered with tattoos or jewelry.
No bachelorette party these days is complete without karaoke, I was
informed. My daughter is an amazing vocalist, and as I watched her perform I
was very proud. I screamed my guts out and applauded wildly along with the rest
of the gang.
I had mixed feelings as I watched her kick back a celebratory shot of
something brown with whipped cream – I am out of touch with what young people
kick back these days. My daughter
doesn’t drink much – a little wine - but that night people were buying her
drinks all around and I watched an interesting assortment of pink, fruity,
fluffy stuff pass her lips. We all yelled and toasted each other repeatedly.
It was interesting for me to watch her against this backdrop, my
mom-mode switch in neutral. This was a young and confident adult, celebrating
her upcoming wedding with other young and confident adults. I did my best to
ignore the cigarette smoke, thumping music, tattoos, body piercings and ridiculously
short skirts that populated the bar.
In my ‘disco queen’ days, we smoked cigarettes, listened to thumping
music, wore ridiculously short skirts and pierced our ears. I sense some similarities here.
Fortunately I have outgrown this stage. Now I listen to calmer music and
wear a lot of plaid Capri’s. I don’t smoke or tattoo anything. My skirts are a
It feels strange to be on the outside looking in - a student of my
daughter’s generation. I observe her
healthy, robust interaction with her friends, all of whom seem to respect and
delight in her. I resist my desire to rush over to her décolletage and jerk up
her neckline to a more modest level. We are on her turf, not mine. There are
lines that mothers should not cross.
She introduces me proudly to everyone, and I push aside the nagging
feeling that I do not belong, because in truth, I do belong. I was invited. She
is my daughter, and I am celebrating this milestone with her. So what if
everyone is a good 30 years younger than me? I look okay when the lights are
My other daughter, barely 21, arrives at the party after her work shift
ends. She slices her eyes towards me as she takes deep drags from her cigarette
and hoists a brew. She grins, daring me to comment. I am outnumbered. I feel
the torch being ripped from my stiff, unyielding fingers and I don’t know if I
like it. This whole mother-of-the-bride thing is confusing. On one hand, I am
delighted; on the other, I am depressed. I have no control whatsoever in this
situation. I peer through the smoke-induced haze, wondering how they can
breathe, let alone enjoy a conversation. When the group moved to the next
agenda item, I begged a ride home and left early. I was not overly interested
in watching my daughter ride a bull.
The wedding was on the beach the following day at sunset; lovely and
romantic. I’m transitioning from
mother-of-the-bride to eventual -mother-of-the-next-bride, where I plan to be
better prepared emotionally to deal with flashbacks of adorable little girls, first
dates, volleyball games, prom dresses and graduations superimposed over
chortling, wild-eyed, microphone-wielding karaoke and bull-riding enthusiasts
with French manicures.
Isn’t there a rule somewhere that mothers should gracefully decline an
invitation to their daughters’ bachelorette parties?