[Author’s note: My daughter is in her mid-twenties and has a boyfriend. The days of “Will he ask me to the prom?” have evolved to “Will he ask me to marry him?” I thought I should prepare for that frightening eventuality by jotting down some notes for what I might want to say to her future husband when that important day approaches. This is just a first draft. Suggestions welcome. – TEJ]
Dear Possible-Future Son-in-Law,
So you want to marry my daughter? What on God’s green earth gives you the right to stomp on my heart and steal my little girl, you hateful, wretched son-of-a-b*tch? Have you met my close friend, Mr. Smith and his buddy, Mr. Wesson? If you think for one minute you’re going to swoop in out of nowhere and take my place after all I’ve done to raise her right, well, you’ll have to come through me. Ya’ hear me, fella?
(Okay, I’m feeling a little cranky. I haven’t eaten in hours, so that opening was a little hangry. Sorry. Let me try this again.)
Son, my daughter has informed me that you would like to marry her. How exciting! I could not be happier for you both. This is a very important decision, so, I hope you’ve thoroughly thought it through.
My daughter is a very special young woman. In the remote chance you’re not quite as familiar with her charming quirks as I have come to be, perhaps I might share a few words of counsel, to help ensure smooth sailing as you embark on your new life together.
You may have noticed by now that my precious little angel is rather, um, strong-willed. She’s been that way forever. When she turned two, she insisted on baking her birthday cake all by herself, proclaiming, “I DO IT MYSELF, DADDY!” I still can recall the proud look on her face as she diligently mixed the cake batter, added the rainbow sprinkles, Frosted Flakes, and bananas, and then poured the entire concoction into what she called “the blender,” but which we adults usually refer to as “the toilet.” The plumber and I sure had a hearty laugh about that, up until the moment he presented me with his $575 bill.
I also hope you’re not terribly concerned with a particularly tidy home. My little Entropy Engine, as I like to call her, is more of a free spirit in that regard. As far back as I can remember, her room always has looked like a Category 5 hurricane had just swept through. I wouldn’t waste your breath asking her to load the dishwasher, or make the bed, or clean up after herself. She’ll no doubt remind you: that’s what maids are for. Hope you earn a good paycheck, young man.
Oh, and a word about pets: DON’T – unless you like getting up at 3am to let the dog out. Because there’s no way you’ll be able to nudge her out of bed. After all, she needs her nightly uninterrupted ten-hour beauty rest. No, when it comes to pets, her job is to cuddle them. Don’t get me wrong. My daughter loves animals – or more accurately, YouTube videos of them, especially fuzzy hedgehogs and baby penguins. If you’re really serious about pets, might I suggest starting with baby steps, say, a bowl of fish? On second thought, scratch that suggestion. It might end badly.
You’ve probably noticed by now that my daughter is remarkably independent. We raised her to be that way. And you may notice she has a slightly elevated need to be right a fair amount of the time – but only when she’s conscious. She will be quick to point out when you’re wrong about say, your taste in men’s fashion or perhaps the latest Star Wars film or where you both should go out to dinner tonight. But she will overrule you with the cutest expression on her face, so you won’t even notice. My Little Miss Sunshine is absolutely willing to listen to your point of view on a wide variety of issues – just so long as your point of view happens to be the same as hers. Just practice saying, “That’s a great idea, dear.” You’ll do just fine.
If my precious jewel has decided that you’re Mr. Right, that says a lot about you. You are clearly a wonderful young man, hardworking, smart, sensitive and a devoted companion, who has compiled at least a six-figure 401K by now. Well done. Oh, on that last point, I’m not saying that my daughter just wants you for your money. Let me be clear. I just want you for your money.
Your future mother-in-law and I plan to move in with you guys when our retirement nest egg runs out. Not to worry. That won’t be for at least another three years. Be sure to buy a large enough house so we can have plenty of privacy – and a view of the ocean and a very large en suite… with a Jacuzzi and a 65” flat screen TV. You’re going to make such a good son.
I hope this will help you feel more comfortable as you contemplate spending the rest of your life married to this incredible young woman, who for the first 18 years of her life I affectionately called my Prima Donna Angel Monster Princess. Welcome to the family.
Remember, in the long run, you needn’t worry about us. Worry about yourself – um, perhaps I phrased that poorly. I mean, life is short. In the end, all that matters is your and my baby girl’s happiness (albeit not necessarily in that order). Make a point to laugh together, love and support each other, and never forget what’s really important in the life you create together: Grandchildren. I really don’t feel I should have to explain this to you. Don’t disappoint me, son.
Your soon-to-be “Dad”
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020