When I was still single, my parents were always joking about which one of them would cry first once I got married. My mom would often say that my dad was a big softie, so it would not come as a shock if he cried first. However, my dad would argue that my mom spent more time with me growing up because he was busy working.
Years passed, and I eventually found the man that I wanted to spend forever with. My parents loved John like their own and were so excited when we told them that we planned to tie the knot in four months. They even helped out with the preparations and offered their backyard for the wedding reception. During that, I did not see a single tear shed.
The thing was, on the day of my wedding, my parents stayed in the bridal car with me. They were both still calm and poised throughout the ride. But then, once the car stopped in front of the church and the coordinator told us that we could come out, I noticed that my parents grew quiet at the same time. I looked at them and soul that they both had their tissues out as they tried to hold back their tears.
In hindsight, I knew that my parents did not want to cry on my special day because they did not want to attract them. They wanted the guests to focus on me on such a happy occasion. Despite that, I could also imagine the mixed emotions they must have been feeling at that moment.
My parents and I hugged and cried for a few minutes outside of the church door. My makeup artist had to touch up our faces so that the guests could not see our tears. But then, when we were walking, I saw that my groom’s parents were waiting with him near the altar, and they were all crying, too.
It was undoubtedly a day full of tears, as my dad wisely said during his toast at the reception. He added, “Parents like us spent our entire lives preparing our kids for lives of their own. Now that it is happening, we cannot help but cry since we are both happy and sad to see them go.”
Why Parents Cry At Weddings
My wedding reception ended, and my husband and I were on our way to the airport, and I would still let out a little sob whenever I thought of my dad’s words. I could not fully understand them since I was not a parent yet, but I felt for my parents. As much as they loved John and wanted me to be happy, a part of them must also be upset as I would build a family of my own.
My husband, who was conveniently a therapist, explained mom and dad’s emotions. He said, “Your parents tend to feel like they have been robbed of a daughter, even if they gave us our full blessing from the start. Especially in your case, you are an only child, so your mom and dad may be lost as to what they are supposed to do in life now that you are leaving their nest for good.”
“But I just got married. I’m not dying!” I retorted, surprised.
My husband laughed. “No, honey, you are not. Despite that, a wedding can make parents feel like they have lost their kid somehow. After all, you will adopt my last name now, and you won’t need them as much as before. Also, our decisions will only involve the two of us, not them.”
“Do you think mom and dad will ever be able to get over it?” I asked.
“Yes, of course. However, they may go through some grieving process for the first few days or weeks. When my eldest sister got married, mom would always visit her empty room and cry on her bed. As time passed, though, and their first grandchild arrived, they feel renewed. There is another kid they can dote on and guide in life, and they become very much okay with seeing their daughter as a married woman.”
Now that John and I have a two-year-old daughter, I finally understand parents who cry at their kids’ weddings. We are incredibly close as a family; we always do things together. But I sometimes look at her and start feeling sad as I envision her growing up. If thinking of my daughter going off to college makes me want to cry and hold on to her, how much more when she comes home and tells us that she’s engaged to be married?
Nevertheless, as my husband reminded me, growing up is inevitable for anyone. All we can do as parents are nurture the kids and make sure they are ready for adulthood and whatever challenge comes with it. As much as I have accepted that, though, I know I will be bawling once my daughter gets married.