Having an only child is the maternal equivalent of putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Additional children give you the chance for a do-over or two; with only one, that’s exactly how many chances you get to get the whole parenting thing right. I look back on the trail I embarked upon 32 years ago and I see it littered with the weeds and stones of my mistakes and missteps. Occasionally I’ll spot a bit of something shiny. I hope it’s a marker for a good decision made, or the right thing said at the right time.
Yet, in spite of my occasional impatience and bursts of short-temper, the young man standing at the edge of this path — my son — is the brightest thing shining there. He’s a terrific person with a great good heart, and he’s at a crossroads. He’s getting married soon to a beautiful young woman with a great good heart of her own. I have just one chance to get this whole mother-of-the-groom thing right.
Over the years, through trial-and-error, I’ve learned a thing or 11 about what it takes to make a relationship work. I’d like to share these bits of wisdom with him now — 12 things he should know before his wedding day.
1. Never take her — or anything — for granted. Be grateful every day for the life you have and the love you’ve found.
2. Do something nice for her every day, and thank her for something at least once a day.
3. Remember that marriage is not a competition except for this one thing: try to out-love one another.
4. Embrace her neuroses. That is, should she have any.
5. Respect her. Respect her. Respect her.
6. Communicate with one another clearly, calmly, and constantly.
7. Listen to what she has to say and put yourself in her shoes while she’s saying it.
8. Make time for each other. Be in the moment when you’re together.
9. Concentrate on one another, not on your work or your smart phone.
10. Hold hands every chance you get.
11. Make love with one another as often as you can.
12. Put the toilet seat down and pick up your clothes from the floor.