Just when you think you know your mom…

Last night, I was talking to my mom and bemoaning the spiraling complexities of wedding planning when I learned something new. I’m getting hitched at the same place as my parents and a number of other relatives, so I’ve always been aware that this place carries special significance. But my mom surprised me when she commented that she hadn’t actually wanted to get married at Sveadal. Her original plan: barbecue on the beach in SF. Ok, there may have been a church involved and a small reception, but barbecued lamb on a beach? I’d totally go to that wedding.

moment of surprise: upon further reflection, it’s actually not that surprising that my mom wasn’t originally into a Sveadal wedding: she didn’t grow up there. I did, and for my whole life I’ve seen my mom be involved in the Sveadal community. But I was also aware that my mom’s connection to her Swedish heritage lay elsewhere: with her mom (my mormor), and her family back in Sweden. Ok, so her not preferring Sveadal is not a huge shock. What did nonplus me was her plan for a beach barbecue. I don’t think we ever had a beach cookout as a family, and I certainly didn’t do the whole ‘smores by ocean beach at sunset thing until college. And she didn’t want just any cookout: it was going to be a lamb roast. I’m imagining a whole animal on a spit, because a) it that would be bomb diggity and b) it’s my imagination. Turns out my mom is surprisingly groovy/hipster in her party choices!

why it surprised me: I don’t think I ever would have described one of my mom’s parties as being “chill.” There were low-key dinners, sure, but the table was always beautifully set and I was discouraged from playing with the candle flames, so I certainly never pictured a party around a fire pit. The other thing that intrigues me is how much I’m dwelling on this tidbit from the past. I think it’s because it reminds me of a photo I once saw in my parents’ wedding album. I only remember looking through those images once, and I found a picture of my mom making a silly face in front of the “just hitched” car. I must have been in high school at the time, and for this amazing moment, I realized that maybe my goofy personality wasn’t solely mine. I wished I’d known her back then, not just as my mom, but as the person she was before she had my brother and me.

what this tells me: I need to spend more time with my mom, and not in a way where I’m just asking her advice on how to be a grownup. I want to be surprised by her outlook—it makes life more interesting. Also, this whole experience tells me I need to channel some beach vibes for my wedding (though to be fair, fire pits for ‘smores have always been part of the plan). Bring on the flip flops.

nice place for some barbecued lamb

nice place for some barbecued lamb

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