admin Posted on 2:24 pm

Parental Alienation Hazard: Groom’s mother not included

On June 21, 2014, my youngest son, 29, got married. It was a luxurious wedding. There were so many people present at the extravaganza at the New York Public Library. But not the mother of the groom. I wasn’t invited. There are so many things I wish I had said to the father of the bride (the only family member on the bride’s side that I could have known).

What I would have liked to have said, to the Father of the Bride…

I guess as I write this, you’re probably enjoying all the festivities leading up to your daughter’s wedding, when she marries my son. In just two more days, you and I will be related. Amazing. It is not like this?

According to the Midrash, after God created the universe in six days, he began to arrange marriages. According to the Talmud, 40 days before a male child is conceived, a voice from heaven announces who he will marry (in Yiddish, such a heavenly marriage is called “bashert”, a word meaning destiny). It is with all my heart and faith that I believe our families will come together for a greater purpose. People come into our lives as a blessing or as a lesson.

Growing up in Bedford, New York, what were the chances that my 29-year-old son would meet his daughter, a young woman from Millburn, New Jersey (just 15 minutes from my new hometown)? And the mere fact that you and I share so many friends and acquaintances? Amazing. I can’t speak for your wife, as I’ve never met her, but I think our paths will cross one of these days. The world is getting smaller every day.

After you and I met, I expected things to be different. Very often, parents play a key role in organizing and planning their children’s nuptials. It is an occasion of tremendous emotional magnitude. A wedding is one of the most significant moments in the life cycle that a parent will experience. But not.

At this profound moment, you may think that you have simply inherited a situation. I think different. I believe that if you are not part of the solution, you effectively become part of the problem. When, as a father, you walk his daughter down the aisle on Saturday night, the mother of the groom will not be present. You have something to exclude me and avoid me. Yes, I know my alienated son tutored you on that subject, but we all have choices to make. If someone robs a bank, the guy who drives the getaway car is also charged with a crime.

My son is no longer a child. He may think I don’t know. But every scar on my aching heart tells me that he is now an adult. You see, every Mother’s Day, every birthday, every Hanukkah, every Passover, every sickness, and every joy has been quietly calculated into the crevices of my heart. And it all adds up to years of alienation. Time that will never be recovered. Each of those moments when the fall of our stories bled to death in the pain of the present. Today is my son. And on Saturday night June 21, he will be someone’s husband.

As you walk with your daughter to the Chuppah, on that path that may seem endless, but it only takes a minute… you may shed a tear or two. As moisture runs down your cheek, I ask you to think of me. Your daughter’s mother-in-law. And my own tears. You see, I’ve been taking them off for days because of this wedding.

My son is committing to a partnership with your daughter. May he be of blessed happiness and good health. At a time that will no doubt fully include feelings of great joy and celebration, won’t you remember the sadness and loss I feel? The time will never come again. You could have done a lot to change the circumstances. It’s easier for you to ignore me and hope I’ll go away. Sometimes the right decision is not the easiest.

Neither you nor your wife will acknowledge me or approach me regarding this blessed event that is to take place. This is my only way of contacting you at this time. The girlfriend: I wish I could meet her, but she has also had no interest in returning my phone calls or emails. I do not go anywhere. And every time you look at my son, I’ll be a sparkle in his eye. The good that your daughter sees in my son comes from me. And I have the references to back that up.

Think of the way our children bonded. Bashert, then it was always meant to be; that was fate Maybe you can be the catalyst to bring peace between us. Or maybe your daughter will melt the ice that surrounds my son’s heart. When my son was born, I held him in my arms and imagined his future, a life that always included me. I never would have thought that a boy who adored me so much, up to the age of 15, would turn on me like he did. Hate has to be taught. So when you say Parental Alienation is just a word, I disagree with you. It’s funny how I have all the paperwork showing a paper separation trail, and you never asked to see any of it. There is not a day in the last decade that I have not missed my son. Even through the most unacceptable behaviors from him. Because I remember the baby, the little boy, the young teenager, the one with the old soul and the heart of gold. The young man who will be waiting for your daughter at the end of the wedding entrance will forever be my son. And he knows that whatever happens, he has the unconditional love of his mother.

So, as the father of the bride, convey a message from the mother of the groom. I wish our children everything they want for themselves and much more. That they find everything in each other that brings out the best in them. The goal of a great marriage is to move beyond the idea that you treat the other person as you would like to be treated. I hope my son will always put his daughter first. That is something that must be emphasized to my son. Unfortunately, he couldn’t have learned such things by example. May our children treat each other better than each wishes to be treated ever. I’m sorry, there are so many things I wish I could write, but my own tears get in the way.

My current life partner teaches me something special every day. Many times I heard him say: “It makes me happy to see you happy.” I pray that our children have reached the point where they find more joy in making each other happy than in pursuing individual happiness.

And as she “hands her daughter over” on Saturday night, she will no doubt feel a loss and a bit of sadness at letting her go. Your eyes may water if emotion takes over such a sacred particle of time. I’ll be crying with you In a different way, of course. Remember, how you have the opportunity to feel that. Experiencing that with the young couple. And how you have participated in denying me that: my own experience seeing a cycle of life that will never return.

julie levine
mother of the groom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *