My parents are bitterly divorced and my mother just cannot be around my father without suffering an emotional outburst. It's been 10 years since they split (and he remarried days after that was finalized--to his mistress, hence part of the bitter part) and each time my Mom has to be near him and my stepmother, she suffers a meltdown.
This is not my first rodeo. I got married in my early 20s (I'm approaching mid-30s now); nearly 2 years and several thousand dollars went into planning our wedding...only to have my mother denigrate what was supposed to be our elegant special day into a Jerry Springer show. It was awful. Epic. People still talk about it. Mother screaming during family photo time, storming off...mother ripping the gift card/money box out of my stepmother's hands...stepmother exacting her revenge by humping my father on the dance floor. AWFUL.
The marriage lasted only a few months (great guy; we were young and it didn't work out) so now that I've met the man I feel so blessed to call my Mr. Right...
Well, I just cannot go through that again and I feel this is my redemption of sorts. My mulligan marriage; my do over. Not just for me, but for Mom, too. That one day resulted in both my brothers eloping and they don't even have family birthday parties for their children because they can't stand to have my parents together. Mom swears she's over it, but at my master's commencement in 2008, she left the ceremony because she couldn't handle watching me with Dad and family; for my sister-in-law's baby shower a couple years ago, she refused to come because my stepmother was invited and threw a tantrum demanding my stepmother be uninvited.
I feel for her, I do.
At the same time, I'm just learning to accept the situation for what it is and not tempt fate. Frankly, a big part of me wants to elope but the groom will not go fo that. At all. I appreciate that. He's a good man and asks very little of me. The least I can do is have a wedding.
But...I do not want my mother there. Rephrase: I do not want my parents there together in the same room at the same time.
Mom has also said she doesn't want to come anyway because she knows that everyone is keeping an eye on her, waiting for her to do something. She told me she honestly cannot guarantee me that she won't act out; she said the only way she can guarantee that is if she's not there.
But not having Mom there on my wedding day crushes me...but not as much as it would crush me to watch security escort her out (did I mention the day after my wedding she drove to my father's house and refused to leave until the police came to escort her off his property?). Or to have my day ruined (I admit it: knowing my mom is upset crushes me).
My reconciliation is this: hold an engagement party that Mom attends, then Dad attends the wedding. OR this: both parents live in San Diego and I'm in Baltimore; we have an east coast wedding (with Dad and the groom's family) and then a west coast reception (with mom and my friends/family there).
Why does Dad get the wedding over mom? Honestly, he's not the one who ruins stuff. Sure, he sucked at being a husband, but he's a great Dad to me. I appreciate Mom's pain, I do. I really do. 364 days a year I'm sympathetic to it; but for one day, I just want her to not focus on her and focus on me...and she's proven it's just too much for her.
I'd really appreciate your advice and wisdom.
Thank you and God bless.