Dating And Marriage Across The Lines

by Louise

My children are first generation Americans. As they grow, I wonder what advice I should give them about dating and marriage. In the home country, marriages that used to last till death do us apart, are increasingly coming apart at the seams. So, advice on this topic is hard to impart.

Here, it seems that there are invisible lines. I wonder how other families would feel at having a first generation Asian boy/girl dating their kids. At school and in their lives my kids are surrounded by other Totebagger type families of all stripes. I am presuming it is most likely they will date/marry Totebagger Junior.

How have your kids handled dating/marriage. What about dating across lines? What advice do you have for kids?

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192 thoughts on “Dating And Marriage Across The Lines

  1. It can be tough being the first American-born kids in the family. My parents were immigrants, and because of both their culture and their generation (they were both born in the 1920s), they always viewed the world through the lens of their original ethnicity. They felt that “mixed marriages” were dangerous, and tried to encourage us kids from entering into one. And marrying pretty much anyone outside of our small ethnic group/religion would have been considered an undesirable “mixed marriage.” I felt like an American kid who was coming of age in the 1980s, but my mom and dad viewed me as a child of the ethnic community who should adhere to the traditional values of the old country. Let’s just say that this tension did not make for a particularly happy adolescence or young adulthood.

    As time went on, though, and I went out on my own, my parents loosened their standards. For a while, they were afraid that I would never get married at all (I got married when I was 34). The older I got, the more the attitude became, “just marry SOMEONE already!” I did end up in a “mixed marriage,” but my parents grew to really like DH, so it all sort of worked out in the end.

    My kids are still young, so I’m not in the thick of the dating years yet, but really all I want for them is to find someone who is a decent human being and with whom they are compatible. I couldn’t care less about race, religion, ethnic background, etc.

  2. @Rhett – not class as much. Color maybe, just we don’t quite fit completely into the “people like us” bucket.

  3. NoB – you describe a similar attitude to my grandparents. My dad’s parents were horrified at him marrying my mom because she wasn’t the same religion.

    My parents freaked out when DH and I moved in together before we got married (and horrors, we weren’t even engaged!). We broke them in for my siblings. :) I think for our part, DH would have a hard time if our kids married someone religious and/or became religious themselves, but race/ethnicity doesn’t enter into it at all.

  4. I think of class lines more than anything when it comes to my kids dating and marriage. It can be awkward or worse for relationships. But I’ve seen enough good examples to know it’s all workable. The most important thing is compatibility in other areas, such as core values. (Which of course can be influenced by class.)

  5. Hijack/housekeeping:
    We’re running low on posts again so please send in your ideas. If we don’t get more submissions we may go to fewer posts per week, which I hope doesn’t happen.

  6. “Color maybe, just we don’t quite fit completely into the “people like us” bucket.”

    Louise, I don’t think this would be something that crosses my mind if, say, our kids were to date. Just as long as they’re Totebaggy types.

  7. I imagine my kids will marry someone from a family at least somewhat similar to ours, as this is what they view as “normal”. My daughter dated her last boyfriend for almost four years, and he was from the same Catholic high school, and shared a lot of our same family-oriented values. He was on his own paying for college and figuring it all out himself, so a little different in the amount of parental support (and we tried to help a lot), but overall fairly similar. I would have no issue with either of my kids dating a first-generation American, or an immigrant, but after my co-worker has been sharing some of the things expected in her culture in terms of “showing respect” to her mother-in-law, I have told both my kids to make sure they fully understand any family dynamics they are getting themselves into. (I have told them that in the context of anyone they date – there’s a little crazy in the family I married into.) My daughter does not necessarily know this, but I’ve decided on her behalf that a destination wedding would be easiest on me, and since we’re not beach people with our pale skin, that it will need to be at a castle in Scotland or Ireland, so when we’re on our Ireland trip for her graduation, it would make sense to just find a husband there, and then delegate all of the castle-wedding-planning to him and his family. I’m not sure when I’ll share this plan with her – maybe on the flight over.

    My son is one of only a handful of non-hispanic white kids in his class, and most of the others are immigrants. Many of his friends are immigrants or first-generation, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him in a relationship with someone whose family background is different from ours. He has learned from some of his friends-who-are-girls that there are certain cultures that would be very difficult to date. He invited a few friends over instead of going to a school dance, and one of the girls told him that he just did not understand what A BIG DEAL it would be for her to ask her father’s permission to go hang out at a boy’s house, and the heightened level of scrutiny she would be under for months afterward, and that really nothing would make it worth putting herself through that. In some ways, he’s a 40-yr old man in a teen’s body, so I do expect him to date/marry someone who is pretty conservative. But he’s only 16 and has never had a serious girlfriend, so what do I know?

  8. My observation is that the difference in religion is the cause for most of the concern. The more fundamental the family’s religious beliefs, the more intense the concern. If the two kids come from the same religious background, the other differences seem to be of only minor to no concern. I think this is partly because in my area it is not as acceptable to learn about religions other than your own because (1) you might be tempted to convert or (2) because of a strong belief that this is a Christian nation and other religions should be marginalized.

    My kids aren’t this age yet, but I think anytime you are in a dating situation you need to be open to learning about the other person including the beliefs and customs they and their family value.

  9. My concern about first generation immigrants is that in our area, they generally come from a patriachial culture, and I have daughters.

  10. I have a close friend from college from a very WASP background who married an auto mechanic. He was a Bosnian refuge and they met in high school and eventually got married. Her parents had a very tough time with it at first and really hoped she would meet someone “more appropriate” in college, but eventually they accepted him, they had the big country club wedding and now have two kids. He makes much more than my friend who is a teacher. I think they did want their daughter to marry a fellow Totebagger, but eventually saw that this man made her happy.

    Where I grew up we were all middle class to varying degrees so the dating outside of your class never came up. It wasn’t very racially diverse, but no one seemed to have a problem with dating different races, so that has never crossed my mind.

  11. It has been so common for so many years for white guys to date and marry Asian women that no one even thinks about it. Back when I was in grad school, a very feminist friend of mine from Korea told me that the white guys all think they are getting a submissive Asian doll, but quickly learn differently. As a mom to an Asian-American kid, though, the stereotypes do concern me. I am starting to see the reverse too – white and even black women dating and marrying Asian men. One of the kids in my DD’s preschool was the result of a marriage between a black man and a woman of Chinese ethnictiy.

    As for class, I have a cousin who grew up in a true trailer-trash family in the deep South. Her name is even one of those classic hyphenated Southern girls names. She is now on her third marriage, and each time she marries, she goes up in class. Her current husband is European with significant holdings in South America, so they travel a lot. She has dumped the second part of her name – no more hyphens! But her brother lives in a trailer (for real) with 4 kids. I always wonder if she lets her newly classy relatives even meet him. It is interesting to see the difference between them.

  12. I tell my kids it doesn’t matter what color, ethnicity anyone is as long as they share the same value system and want the same things out of life. My son is in a serious relationship with a young lady who is first generation on her mother’s side in Canada and I don’t know if the father is first generation and they are a mixed ethnic marriage. She is lovely! Very smart, educated and funny (pretty too). I would be happy if my son married her.

    I am Irish Catholic and my husband is German Pagan Baby (as my mother called him) – not baptized in any religion. Our marriage works because of our shared values – 40 years and going strong.

  13. I think even if all the ‘class’ markers were present, my parents would have had a problem if my sister or I brought home a black kid we were dating. Not so much of an issue if the boyfriend/girlfriend were Asian (read Chinese/Japanese; there were very few Indian/Pakistani people in our sphere back then) or Mexican (“Spanish-surname” was once a protected class in CA), as long as they were one of the 6th + generation who came from Mexico like with uh, Father Junipero Serra, not in the past few years.

    I don’t think the skin color of my kids’ girlfriends (assumption there, but no one has come out, so I’m going with it for now…and btw, I don’t really care about that either) will matter. I’ll be much more concerned if I don’t think she is a good fit for his personality, has a different life approach work/school/money mgmt. much of which is hard to glean.

  14. Previously, in my culture, people would stay married regardless of how bad the marriage was. Now, more and more people are getting divorced, as well as marrying outside of our race. This is a good thing. I’m glad that we’re becoming less uptight about marriage/relationships.

    I’m not sure that my kids will ask me for advice on dating/marriage. I just hope they find wives who are kind and supportive, and good mothers to my grandchildren.

  15. I don’t think I would care about any differences, including someone who is non-Totebaggy. Easy to say now before I’ve been presented with an actual case but I have a high degree of confidence that this would be true if put to the test.

    I’d rather a line- crossing partner for my kids than someone who’s not totally devoted to them, for example. I think I care more about personality than anything else.

  16. So my parents never mentioned dating rules in the way the OP describes as far as class/race/religious differences. My mother’s advice was more along the lines of “don’t call him first” or “don’t date only one guy before you get married” (which I think she was legitimately concerned about because I dated my high school boyfriend through most of college too). We all have experiences that make us thing that there is a right or a wrong path in dating/finding a spouse, but everyone is different (it might be perfectly fine for some to marry their high school sweetheart like my friend), so I hope I don’t project too much of my own experiences on my kids, although I probably will a little.

  17. Agree it is more about shared values, outlook on life and compatible personalities. However, as someone else pointed out every family has a history and expectations (that may come from class, race, culture, religion, etc). Each partner needs to be aware of what those are before marriage, IMO. Of course, things still change (a friends non-religious dad converted to a very conservative evangelistic religion in is lat 50s) and you will have to roll with the punches.

  18. Both sets of grandparents are thankfully keeping their opinions to themselves, given that the of marriages of people they know are failing at a high rate. Otherwise, we would never hear the end of it. In the past grandparents were close enough and had a much greater influence in these matters.

  19. Her name is even one of those classic hyphenated Southern girls names.

    Whoa there. They’re called “double names” and hyphens are rare. And in defense of all things Southern, they’re a lovely way to honor family names.

  20. So I crossed the religion line when I married. My best advice is to wait until your SO is old enough that your potential future inlaws are just grateful that you have a job and a pulse. My mom (the athiest) was more concerned about me getting sucked into organized religion, but even with that, she was basically sold at “he has four degrees.”

    I suspect my kids will marry someone similar to us, just because that is the current dating pool, and no one has (yet) talked about doing something that would take them out of that pool. Law of probabilities and all that.

    No one here will be remotely surprised that my biggest concern would be my kids getting sucked into a religion/culture with strict gender rules/expectations (“obey” has never been much of an option in our house). Then again, given my kids’ personalities, I have a pretty hard time seeing that happening (if you’ve spent more than three minutes with DD. . .).

  21. My parents are pretty traditional and conservative Midwesterners and they’ve had no problems at all with my brothers’ girlfriends, one first-generation Mexican-American and the other an immigrant from Ethiopia. We have always had a lot of family friends from around the world, so perhaps they are more open minded than you’d expect from their demographics.

    I married someone from a fairly similar background to myself, though class and culture issues cause a bit of conflict at times. DH’s family is more blue collar and Mediterranean, and some expectations like inlaws expecting to be financially supported have caused awkwardness and conflict. My MIL “blames” me for spoiling her retirement plan of moving in with her son. I told DH that was a deal-breaker before marriage.

  22. I married someone of a different race, religion, and politics….

    Our families have different views on any issue you could name. But then our families are large and you could find someone on every part of the political and cultural spectrum on both sides :)

    We reached agreement on the main issues before we married: number of children, the religion of the children, the schooling of the children, where to live, what we expect to do for which elderly members of our families as they age.

    We held two weddings, one for each side of the family (close family went to both) so that we could deal with the conflicting traditions without going crazy.

    Generally we have very similar personalities and agree on most practical issues in everyday life, including money management. If that weren’t true, I think it could be much harder.

    Now that we have kids I pay a lot of attention to whether there are other mixed kids in their classes and activities. We chose to live here partly because I was confident they wouldn’t be the only half-half kids around.

    I would recommend pre-marital counseling to anyone. We did pre-Cana, and although I found the standardized part unhelpful, the meetings with the priest who married us were useful just for articulating what issues we had thought through.

  23. I left a long comment but it seems to have disappeared. I will try again later :)

  24. My family is very liberal with the dating/marriage rules. Similar values, ability to take care of him/herself, etc. As long as I was happy and treated well, they were happy. I’ve made no secret that DH’s family believed I wasn’t good enough for him or I wasn’t right for him. They are more conservative, and I was the hippie. I am not a hippie by any definition of the word, but given the liberal leanings of my upbringing, I might as well be. To this day, I’m still not sure how my MIL feels about my PhD and career choice…. I’m not a teacher, nurse, or SAHM which is what she expects, I believe.

    My only hope for DS is that he meets someone who can put up with the family shenanigans. We are weirdos.

  25. Side bar – maybe I’m more of a hippie than I thought… my SIL suggested that DS needed a baby mani/pedi. MIL told him not to worry, that mani/pedi’s are very manly now. I agreed, but said that DS shouldn’t worry at all – he’ll be allowed to be himself and identify however he wants. I think I blew my MIL’s mind just then – the hippie came out. Though I do think she’ll blow a gasket if DS identifies as gay or bisexual. Or secretly pat herself on the back for being so cosmopolitan.

  26. @Rhode, that is awesome. Kinda like when my grandma asked my mom about family names after she married my stepdad (because of the kids on both sides), and she said “well, I wouldn’t take his name, and he wouldn’t take mine, so I’ll be X and he’ll be Y, and the kids will be Y and Z.” Just not part of her world, ya know?

    I also totally agree with Sky. The biggest differences DH and I have had weren’t religion or tradition or anything like that (tho he could do a little less sulking about getting the damn Christmas tree, given the number of 3-hr seders I have sat through with a smile). It was the unspoken assumptions/behaviors that we never even thought were issues before marriage. Like my propensity to save everything and get pissy when I thought he was being frivolous/wasting $$, or his propensity to get frustrated and yell at the kids (which I never would have guessed, because he wasn’t like that at all with me or anyone else).

  27. Well, you all know I grew up in the South. Race would have been a huge deal to my family, especially my grandparents. Religion would matter for anything non-Christian, I think. It was bad enough that I married a non-practicing Catholic whose family wanted alcohol at the wedding. I think now that the older generation is gone, my parents’ generation would be a little more open-minded. I know that I certainly am! And I think they’ll be even more accepting, maybe even of same-sex relationships, by the time my DD’s generation is dating.

    My primary advice is don’t rush into marriage, regardless of race/religion/class/politics/whatever. I had family pressure not to “live in sin,” and I honestly wonder if we would have made it to marriage without that pressure. I will encourage my DD not to settle, to spend some time living alone, and then to live with a partner before tying the legal knot.

  28. “I don’t think the skin color of my kids’ girlfriends (assumption there, but no one has come out, so I’m going with it for now…and btw, I don’t really care about that either) will matter.”

    Fred, perhaps inadvertently, brought up an interesting point here. Sooner or later some of our Totebag kids are going to emerge as gay. I like to think I’m okay with that– as long as Junior finds somebody who makes him laugh. (Since my wife died, there has been so little laughter around here that it just damn hurts, but that’s another story.) But I wonder if I really would be. I kind of like the idea of Junior having a Trip. Of course, that could be achievable through adoption, and I really believe in that (kids need families). But I don’t know. And I hope if I raise Junior right, I won’t see III or Trip or Trey in this lifetime.

    But anyway, my guess is that we’ll see this happen. Who knows? It even may be one of us: Milo could put on a speedo and leave his three daughters in favor of Ricky Martin and his two sons. RMS could head off on the back of a motorcycle with Rosie O’Donnell. (One can practically hear the joyous curse words fading down the highway as they speed away!) Rhett could take up with the creepy guy from Triago. Hotels, anyone? There has to be an Adolph Coors grandson for me.

    We’ll see.

  29. Catholic whose family wanted alcohol at the wedding.

    How could they object to alcohol at the wedding?

    Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

    Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

    They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

  30. “There has to be an Adolph Coors grandson for me.” An acquaintance’s daughter is going to school where the grandson of T. Boone Pickens attends, and keeps encouraging her daughter to meet him, saying “What could it possibly hurt?” She’s almost as ambitious as my find-a-groom-and-delegate-castle-wedding-plan scheme.

  31. An acquaintance’s daughter is going to school where the grandson of T. Boone Pickens attends, and keeps encouraging her daughter to meet him,

    Oh yes! 110% behind plans to marry a DuPont, Nordstrom, Mellon, etc.

    I can just see the NYTimes wedding announcement now.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/05/style/weddings-laura-lemole-benjamin-du-pont.html

    The bridegroom is a descendant of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company.

    Swoon.

  32. I really really hope that my kid marries “someone like us”. If you had asked me this question in my teens or early twenties, I would have said it really didn’t matter. But now as I have grown older and wiser, I think it does matter.

    There are various reasons for this. Marriage is so hard without adding additional complexities of different religion, culture and values to it. Why make it difficult for yourself? I also believe marriage is supposed to bring two families together. If you approach the union from different places, that puts additional burden on being able to find a common ground.
    More selfishly, I want our culture, religion and values to thrive and that is not happening right now.

    Having said that, if my kid finds a person who does not fit into that criteria, but shares the values and makes my kid happy, I will accept that person in our family wholeheartedly. As long as they are not proselytizing type of course.

  33. “How could they object to alcohol at the wedding?”

    Not every Christian religion agrees with alcohol. Baptists are known for no alcohol and no dancing. I’ve been to weddings which were pretty much cake/coffee receptions.

    I come from a long line of Irish/Italian Catholics. It’s not a party unless there’s way too much food and way too much alcohol. Anything less is called family dinner.

    PTM – maybe this is a generational thing, but I’m pretty sure I’d be OK with DS being gay or bisexual. But I grew up during the 80s and 90s – gays went from being taboo and carriers of disease to “Will and Grace”. If my son wanted to be as dorky cool Will or putting it all out there Jack, as long as he owned it, I’d be right there with him. Now my father and FIL/MIL on the other hand…

  34. Not every Christian religion agrees with alcohol. Baptists are known for no alcohol and no dancing.

    How can they not agree with it when providing alcohol at a wedding was one of Jesus’s most memorable miracles?

  35. I never understood it either Rhett. My grandfather was a Baptist minister, my grandmother has never had a drop of alcohol to drink
    (grandfather is deceased) but I would assume the same for him

  36. Rhett – you may have to bolster up your side of the announcement… need to sit on some boards that sound fancy and buy a summer home somewhere nice (and nothing that’s a shack on the pond)… but “Swedenborgian”.. fancy way of saying nondenominational?

  37. we chose the wedding miracle water to wine for the gospel reading at our ceremony (Catholic wedding)

  38. I wouldn’t care who DS marries as long as he is happy and married to a good person who treats him right. I can see how religious differences could cause problems once the honeymoon phase is over…

  39. I don’t attempt to explain any religious group’s interpretation of their favored translation of the Bible. I can barely understand the Catholic’s interpretations and I’ve been practicing since birth.

  40. Rhett – you may have to bolster up your side of the announcement…

    I wish you could find the most lopsided NYTimes announcement. Something like:

    Dr. Gwendolyn Adams Morgan du Pont, daughter of Sen. Thurston Adams Morgan du Pont and Ambasador Helen Adams Morgan du Pont was married to William “Billy” Schlerm son of Marge Schlerm a Walmart greeter and Thomas “Tubby” Schlerm a exterminator with the Terminex company…. the grooms 3 previous marriages ended in divorce…

  41. The reception for pretty much every wedding (mostly Baptist & Presbyterian cousins) I ever went to before my 20’s consisted of ham biscuits, fruit & veggie platters, cake, and punch in the church fellowship hall. The real partiers might have had a DJ, but some might have just had a boom box with a mix tape of the pre-selected songs for bride-groom, father-daughter, and mother-son dances.

  42. Rhett – the groom should have only a mother mentioned. Father is in the wind, right, having never been seen of after that one night stand.

  43. Rhett, Maybe a little of both? Not drinking alcohol is probably mostly based in religion, but it’s also the social norm for a small, rural wedding. And even if some of the family drinks, they certainly wouldn’t serve alcohol at church! It’s not like they’ve got relatives from far-flung places flying in for a long weekend who need to be entertained. It’s just everyone coming in a little early from the fields to spend a couple hours at church on Saturday afternoon.

  44. Your marriage is at least as important as your career is what I would say to my kids. I know that is not especially full of helpful details.

  45. I wouldn’t leave my kids, PTM. I might wear a Speedo, if I’m successful at getting back closer to my college fitness level.

    OT, as it happened, DW and I would have had a difficult time finding two families that were any more similar than our own are in all the things that matter. It makes spending time with in-laws very easy and pleasant for each of us, and I’ve been successful at getting both sets to accompany us on rented-house vacations; everyone gets along perfectly and actually enjoys each other’s company, so it’s nice. They even see each other socially without us there.

  46. they certainly wouldn’t serve alcohol at church!

    If you’re a member of a real church they serve alcohol as part of the service.

  47. The Methodist church I grew up in served grape juice. And they only had Communion once a month at that!

  48. MBT,

    Here is half of your daughter’s wedding announcement:

    Countess Arianna Cleonice Fioratti, the daughter of Count and Countess Nereo Fioratti of New York and Fiesole, Italy, was married yesterday to Count Mario Luigi Loreto, a son of Marchioness Teresa Frusci di Bertinoro and Count Roberto Loreto, both of Florence. Msgr. Giovanni Scarabelli and the Rev. Hugh Kennedy performed the ceremony at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta at Radi di Montagna, the Fiorattis’ 10th-century castle near Siena.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/22/style/arianna-fioratti-and-mario-loreto.html

  49. I think what I’d be most likely to fret about would be lack of intelligence/curiosity. Second most would be radically incompatible ideas of gender and family roles, such as potential in-laws who are flirting with Dominionism and pushing for grandchildren to be home-schooled using the Gothard system, or would expect the newlyweds to go live in the family compound in Saudi Arabia. But those possibilities seem improbable.

  50. Of the churches I’ve attended, only Catholic Churches serve alcohol… the rest seem to serve grape juice.

    Another conundrum for me – many Catholic families I know are “no alcohol until 21”, but if your church serves wine, you get a sip of it every week after you make First Holy Communion (7 or 8 years old).

    I wish these wedding announcements included how the bride and bridegroom met…

  51. Rhett – perfect! I had a college friend who married a wealthy Italian man she met while spending the summer over there while her father was demonstrating a medical technique he had developed. The guy spoke no English, and she spoke to Italian. The Catholic Church makes you do pre-marital counseling, but since they were in Italy while planning the wedding, they did some sort of questionnaire type thing. When I asked her if they were deemed compatible, she told me “of course – i filled it out for him. Remember, he doesn’t speak English?” That was 25+ years ago, and as far as I know they are still married, and presumably have learned to speak one another’s languages.

  52. Rhett, conservative Baptists allege that Jesus provided grape juice at the Cana wedding and drank it at the last supper. How avoiding fermentation of the grape juice was achieved, given that Passover is in spring and the grape harvest is in fall and Israel has a Mediterranean climate, is one of the questions that drove me away from a Biblical literalist view of the world as an early teen. No one at church was quite as interested in that question as I was.

    If our children adopt our religious views (Christian), we’ll encourage them to marry another Christian. (Be not unequally yoked, etc.) Along with that, I’ll talk about family situations and the long-term consequences that marriage and family choices have. Given the non-Totebagginess of our city, I think my kids will have plenty of examples of What Not To Do. I think a similar education level, views on money (I will not be supporting you, able-bodied child), stable family background and uninteresting romantic history are all good things. Mr WCE remained friendly with his ex-girlfriends and their parents (a couple of whom I met) really liked him. Having your ex-girlfriend’s parents like you is a big plus for me. Because I saw so many broken homes in my town growing up, I was very cautious about dating and wanted someone boring and stable.

    For my sons, I see little advantage to early marriage- it’s easy for a guy to get married at 30. Now that I have a daughter, the question of early marriage is a little harder. Most of the good, religious guys (who are not on the Coasts) are claimed early. We’ll have to see how mature she is and if she meets someone with whom she’d like to build a life, rather than merge lives. And I want all my kids to be prepared to be single if appropriate. Don’t be in a relationship with someone because you can’t stand to be alone.

    And yes, all these things will get communicated over time. They are our family values.

  53. Rhode – or Episcopalians! Always wine. Kind of like Catholics but with better music. :) If you like smells and bells, some of the churches have that too. (I like bells but NEVER smells.)

  54. I worry a little bit about how well my stepson and his wife will do long-term, because she comes from a family where her father doesn’t let her mother work outside the home. At the present time, she’s waiting for DSS to get his full-time job and then she plans to stop working. Permanently? I don’t know. The boy seems to be neutral about this idea, but I reckon his income will play a role in how comfortable he is.

    In my husband’s first marriage, one of many, many problems was that his wife quit working after he got a full-time job and had no plans to ever go back. If you’re a college professor in the humanities in the late ’80s making $28K per year with a baby on the way, this turns out to be a Big Issue. DH had assumed she’d continue to work.

    My continuing to work was spelled out between both of us very clearly when we got married. 20 years later I did in fact retire, but our circumstances were utterly different and there was lots of discussion.

    I don’t really think it’s the best idea for a girl in her late 20s to just quit working, but she has a mother and she doesn’t need input from me. I just smile and nod and try to put some more money aside to help them as needed.

    Other than that, they’re from extremely similar backgrounds (same high school, even) and they’re both atheists of Protestant descent, and blond and blue-eyed.

  55. At the present time, she’s waiting for DSS to get his full-time job and then she plans to stop working. Permanently?

    Are their kids, is she even pregnant?

  56. I do want both my kids to be able to support themselves. I share RMS’s concern about one party leaving the workforce prematurely. I understand that as the marriage goes along, kids arrive, incomes increase, staying home becomes an option but I wouldn’t want someone to exit right after marriage.

  57. Are their kids, is she even pregnant?

    Nope. She’s just tired of working.

  58. Yeah. I think one of the (multiple) issues in my brother’s marriage was that he had assumed that his wife, who quit her job on becoming pregnant, would go back to work after the kids were in school, and this was in no way her plan. That was a subject for conflict for years before the divorce proceedings. (And I don’t mean that there would be anything wrong with it if they both had decided that she’d stay home indefinitely — but that’s not what happened.)

  59. Finn and Milo, I ended up sending an e-mail to the owner and service department manager, both of whom I had been in contact with before. I just asked them why the person that they said was going to call did not. That person called back this afternoon and said that there was some confusion and that the part was still back ordered (never mind that I had been told by someone else that it was already in). He said that he would call when it was in. No apology and no offer to make amends for the inconvenience of once again promising me something and not delivering. I am just going to go with another dealership, even though it is thirty minutes further up the road. I am very non confrontational, so for me it is just easier to take my business elsewhere than to keep going back and forth with either them or their corporate office.

  60. I’m tired of working and parenting. Where’s that trust fund when you need it? I guess I didn’t marry well enough! :-)

  61. Rhett – My brother has a friend (male) from high school who married a woman and promptly became a house-husband. I believe his wife is an engineer (hat tip to Finn). They have no children, and no plans of having children.

  62. Nope. She’s just tired of working.

    And….he doesn’t doesn’t see a problem with that?

  63. L – should have included them! I was raised both Catholic and Episcopalian… and the church did serve wine – a different type than my Catholic church. Episcopalians had a sweeter red while the Catholics had a drier red. Look at me – connoisseur at 8 years old! Ha!

    I remember telling DH that if DS couldn’t be baptized Catholic because of me (we had a hard time getting married in the Catholic Church because of my religious history – baptism Episcopalian, everything else Catholic), we were all converting to Episcopalian and I’d have no complaints from him. I also said that I’d rather have my kids get every sacrament in Catholicism because that’s like a get-in-free card to every other Christian religion. DS is becoming a Catholic next weekend.

    I’m hoping to lead by example – I want to DS to be a full partner in his marriage. I want him to expect his life partner to have income of his/her own (unless mutually agreed upon), and that he should shoulder half of the household chores and child rearing (again, unless some other arrangement is mutually agreed upon). I also want DS to learn what a good, functional marriage looks like. DH and I have parents who are divorced or married but barely speak to each other.

  64. I can’t understand how someone would want to quit working as soon as they are married.
    I mean, if they are a SAHM or SAHD it is different. Of course, I would never be cut out to be a housewife and spend all day cooking and cleaning. The house would be a mess, but maybe I could get some reading and writing done.

  65. The son of my parents’ friends married a girl in Waco (they both went to Baylor) and her family were strict Baptists who had no alcohol at the reception. The groom’s parents had a separate reception afterwards so everyone could partake in booze and fancier food (the alcohol was the real necessity!).

    DH’s parents had what was considered a “mixed” marriage at that time/in their neighborhoods: he was Irish and she was first generation American of Italian descent. Her mom said something like “why do you want to marry an American boy??” when she announced she was getting married. At least they were both Catholic!

    I hope that I would be supportive if either of my kids fell in love with someone of a different race or religion, or of the same gender. I would advise them to live in an urban area if was either the first or third case (race/gender), and would hope that the different religions would at least be similar (a nice Episcopalian – that would be just fine!). I might be sad inside but I would do my best to hide it, and I think it would all work out in the end if he/she was the right match.

    DD has a friend from college who fell in love with a young man from Morocco while traveling in France. That would make a bit nervous – her going to live there, or them getting married and him taking the kids back to Africa (I think I’ve watched a few too many Lifetime movies!). I will be interested to see how things work out for them.

  66. her father doesn’t let her mother work outside the home

    As MM has previously pointed out, that attitude was last viewed as mainstream (i.e. treated as such when it appeared in news interviews, sit-coms) in the 70s.

  67. Rhode, I was baptized (twice actually LOL first Methodist then Baptist) before the rest of the sacraments being through Catholic church. We were married in the Catholic church. We attend Lutheran now and had DS baptized there.

  68. I can’t understand how someone would want to quit working as soon as they are married.

    I can – they’re really lazy.

  69. Rhett – Possibly, or it could be something like the answers I got when I asked why my neighbor, the ex-lawyer, is happy to volunteer at all of the school things and run PTA fundraisers, but would NEVER want to do something like substitute teaching at the very same school.

  70. Milo,

    A friend’s brother married a girl who didn’t want to work. He thought, “Well, as soon as the kids come along she pour all her energy into the kids.” Nope. She couldn’t be bothered with the kids either. Reminds me of my old neighbor the SAHM who sent her kids to the nanny’s house every day.

  71. Rhett – Such are the possible tradeoffs of mating among the elite.

    “Reminds me of my old neighbor the SAHM who sent her kids to the nanny’s house every day.”

    Unless, of course, she suffered from depression or something. You know me, I don’t like to judge until I’ve walked a mile in someone’s moccasins.

  72. Rhett – Such are the possible tradeoffs of mating among the elite.

    They are both barely above WT.

  73. “They are both barely above WT.”

    Not if they can afford a full-time nanny on one income.

  74. “How avoiding fermentation of the grape juice was achieved, given that Passover is in spring and the grape harvest is in fall and Israel has a Mediterranean climate, is one of the questions that drove me away from a Biblical literalist view of the world as an early teen.”

    I figured if he could change water to wine, it was well within the realm of possibility that he could also change water to grape juice.

  75. Not if they can afford a full-time nanny on one income.

    No nanny, he came home to hungry kids and full diapers.

  76. DH comes from a long line of Catholics. I come from a mix of everything. My maternal grandparents had a “mixed” marriage – he was Episcopalian, she Catholic. They were married in the rectory of the RC Church because grandpa was a “heathen”. Grandma received a stern lecture on marrying outside the faith from her priest. She was told they’d be divorced and she would be excommunicated (mind you, they married in 1948). Their marriage lasted until their deaths and Gram continued to practice RC while grandpa practiced Episcopalian. Neither family objected to the union. Grandpa even built a MIL suite on the second floor of his house. Paternal family is a mix of RC and Methodist. I still don’t know who practices what.

    “A friend’s brother married a girl who didn’t want to work”
    My SIL is similar (she didn’t want to work), except that when her boys come she’ll be a devoted mom. I have a suspicion she’ll be a helicopter parent. She’ll probably also be the parent who makes everything a competition. And my son will be at the short end of this. My fear is that he’ll be forgotten once her boys come because she’ll thrust them on everyone. Example from April – my FIL was talking with me about DS’s baptism (FIL had to move some engagements around to come). She butts in saying “[dad] you have no plans until my babies come” or something near that. I let it go, but if the “no one matters but me and my kids” attitude continues, I’ll have to pipe up.

  77. Rhett, as I said, he seems neutral on the subject. I don’t know why.

    HM, I know, right? They’re only a few years older than I am. But I’m from California and they’re from Indiana, so maybe that’s part of it. I find that “no wife of mine will work” business bizarre. But again, I don’t want to alienate anyone because I want to eventually have access to any grandchildren, so I smile and nod and say “Oh, look at the shiny thing!” and change the subject.

  78. Unless, of course, she suffered from depression or something.

    We were thinking that might be it…post partum depression, etc. Then again we know SAHMs with nannies who spend much of the day out and about. Is it that so much of a leap to have the kids out and about and mom stays home?

  79. “I pay a lot of attention to whether there are other mixed kids in their classes and activities. We chose to live here partly because I was confident they wouldn’t be the only half-half kids around.”

    I’ve met quite a few mixed race couples who moved here primarily so their kids would be with a lot of other hapa kids. Many of them had no other connection here.

  80. “I left a long comment but it seems to have disappeared. I will try again later ”

    That happens to me a lot. I’ll post something, but it’ll take several minutes before it shows up.

  81. Busy day can’t read, but I do believe that we can only declare racism dead when the father of a pretty white girl will be just as glad to see her walk in the door with a man of color as a white man. That’s when we will know that race is no longer an issue in this country.

  82. “I was very cautious about dating and wanted someone boring and stable.”

    And thus you married an engineer.

    DD has talked about wanting to be an engineer. I will need to encourage her.

  83. I’ve met quite a few mixed race couples who moved here primarily so their kids would be with a lot of other hapa kids. Many of them had no other connection here.

    Yes, I’ve seen the same thing.

  84. “Then again we know SAHMs with nannies who spend much of the day out and about.”

    Assuming that money is no object, it really makes no difference from the kids’ perspective. Let’s say that Julie is “not cut out to be a SAHM,” and her DH, John, is making $900k as an investment banker. Does it really matter if Julie slaves away 40 hours per week for $30k a year working for Claire Underwood at the Clean Water Initiative or if she just likes yoga, spin, Barre, followed by a nice lunch and some shopping? Either way, the kids are home with the nanny.

    Why do we give someone a pass for “not being cut out to stay home with kids” if we’re going to be so critical of someone who’s not cut out to work for pay, either?

  85. “I am starting to see the reverse too – white and even black women dating and marrying Asian men.”

    From what I’ve read, if black women want to marry someone with a college education, they’ll need to expand their pool beyond black men.

    I’m wondering if a similar thing isn’t happening with white women and Asian men, that education and SES are becoming more important, relative to race, to white women.

  86. Hasn’t it been the historical norm for the very wealthy for much of the parenting to be done by hired help? I’m also thinking it wasn’t always just the very wealthy, but even the middle class, when there was a dirt-poor class that could be hired to do the parenting. Like Atticus Finch’s kids.

  87. Why do we give someone a pass for “not being cut out to stay home with kids” if we’re going to be so critical of someone who’s not cut out to work for pay, either?

    Because we’re Americans – protestant work ethic and all that.

    From my other favorite term used in NYTimes weddings announcements:

    The bride’s father manages his family’s trusts and other investments.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/fashion/weddings/13beit.html?_r=0

    In American you have to “do” something.

  88. Does anyone worried about their child marrying into an extended family where people don’t support themselves/take care of their children? My BIL’s ex-wife decided she wanted to party, live with various men, etc. and has joint custody of their daughters, because such lifestyle choices are not legally considered negligent parenting. I know it bothers my MIL and it bothers me, and the girls are only my nieces. Given my ex-SIL’s family background, her behavior was not unexpected.

  89. “Hasn’t it been the historical norm for the very wealthy for much of the parenting to be done by hired help?”

    I agree, although wasn’t Atticus a widower? It just seems that, among America’s upper class, it’s OK to SAH with the kids, and it’s OK to outsource childcare to work, but then you better be working.

    Why?

  90. “The bride’s father manages his family’s trusts and other investments.”

    DW and I were talking about winning the lottery. She says she would become a FT SAHM, and I could “manage our investments.”

    Can you still claim that if you just have a few Vanguard index funds?

  91. Can you still claim that if you just have a few Vanguard index funds?

    In that case, not only could you claim that you manage your family’s investments, you could boast about beating 89.84% of all professional fund managers.

  92. You’re all familiar with DW’s and my efforts to put my kids in situations to create what we consider to be good peer groups. I hadn’t really thought this far ahead, but I think (hope?) that will also affect their marriage choices.

  93. “you could boast about beating 89.84% of all professional fund managers.”

    That’s pretty good.

  94. Does anyone worried about their child marrying into an extended family where people don’t support themselves/take care of their children?

    Oh yes! Did I tell you about my co-worker and his dumb-ass son in law? I don’t think I every actually saw the guy but he was friends with the guy in the next cube and almost every day he’d come over to rant about his dumb-ass son in law. He didn’t work didn’t help with the kids and was just generally useless, and it drove this guy crazy. I could only imagine how frustrating that must be.

  95. Yes, Atticus was a widower, but I don’t think it was unusual in that time and place for “The Help” to raise white kids.

    I don’t know if they have much of a history in the US, but the term nurse maid has a literal etymology.

  96. “when there was a dirt-poor class that could be hired to do the parenting
    …I don’t think it was unusual in that time and place for “The Help” to raise white kids.”

    So a higher minimum wage DOES reduce employment.

  97. “Does anyone worried about their child marrying into an extended family where people don’t support themselves/take care of their children?”

    I would think this might be more of a concern for you than others here. Most of our kids’ peers are largely the kids of totebaggy parents, much more so than yours.

    But the thought has crossed my mind. Another reason to encourage DD’s engineering aspirations.

  98. “So a higher minimum wage DOES reduce employment.”

    At least at the theoretical level, wouldn’t a higher minimum wage not affect employment if it just caused a similar amount of inflation?

  99. Finn, you should encourage your DD to think about how to support a family, but recognize that engineering isn’t as family-friendly as, for example, teaching or nursing. The world’s schoolchildren are very glad that I’m not a teacher, but for many women, those fields are good fits. I chose engineering in part because it would allow me to support a family.

    You’re right that our acquaintances aren’t very Totebaggy. Maybe implicit in today’s post is the assumption that Totebagger children will marry fellow Totebaggers, who can be of any race or sexual preference and would preferably not be religious, or if they are, something innocuous like Episcopalian.

  100. I am finally catching up with today’s post. The NYT weddings sections is still one of my favorite sections to read on Sundays. I went through an interesting phase where I actually knew someone at least once a month from college, work or life. I am starting to see the kids of some neighbors or relatives in there now as my age creeps up.

    It is also a great source of information if you google someone because I love getting a hit with a NYT announcement. It might be from 5, 10 , 15 years ago, but I love reading the details.

  101. would preferably not be religious, or if they are, something innocuous like Episcopalian

    Where are you getting that from?

  102. HM, from all the people who don’t care about religion. If you care about religion, (Mennonites, other conservative Christians, devout Muslims, orthodox Jews), you definitely want your child to marry within your religion.

  103. “some expectations like inlaws expecting to be financially supported have caused awkwardness and conflict.” My brother is dealing with some of that. It is a real deal and can have a huge impact on your life and your plans! BIG DEAL!

    MBT – I believe that one of T. Boone’s grandsons Overdosed, so tread cautiously.

    Rhett – re: the wedding announcement – funny to mention the parents when the groom is 55! hee hee.

    “Of course, I would never be cut out to be a housewife and spend all day cooking and cleaning. The house would be a mess, but maybe I could get some reading and writing done.” @winemama, dirty little secret – a lot of us do that. The novelty of the cooking and cleaning wears off after a few years! The whole bored housewife thing is NOT a myth.

  104. WCE, you’re making an unsupported assumption that not caring about religion of potential SIL/DIL is the same as preferring a non-religious SIL/DIL.

  105. “I believe that one of T. Boone’s grandsons Overdosed, so tread cautiously.”

    Not necessarily a bad thing for someone marrying for money.

  106. I’m particularly enjoying comments today … Rhett hooking up with the creepy Trivago guy, double standards about SAHMs, innocuous Episcopalians … all of which makes me happy to see a bunch of new post submissions. Thanks for the response!

  107. Your syllogism is:

    Devoutly religious people care about SIL/DIL’s religious affiliation.
    Totebaggers don’t (mostly) care about SIL/DIL’s religious affiliation.
    Therefore Totebaggers don’t (mostly) want a devoutly religious SIL/DIL.

    The conclusion doesn’t follow from your premises. But a conclusion of “Therefore Totebaggers aren’t (mostly) devoutly religious” would.

  108. I think it’s the Unitarians/Universalists who are most innocuous, right?

  109. “Maybe implicit in today’s post is the assumption that Totebagger children will marry fellow Totebaggers”

    And have a much higher rate of marrying, staying married, and having kids within a marriage than non-totebaggers, thus further differentiating themselves on a SES basis.

    Yes, I do hope my kids choose spouses who share core totebag values.

  110. HM, I think I came across wrong. I meant to imply that the preference is for an in-law to whom religion is not extremely important. That’s why I qualified that something like Episcopalian, which conforms pretty well to modern Totebaggy values, would be OK.

    I think if religion is extremely important, it’s important to be aligned with your spouse, because conservative religious beliefs will shape financial choices like tithing, not having a second home because weekends away would limit volunteering with church, maximizing the chance of passing on shared religious values to children because this happens more when parents are of the same religion, etc.

    Maybe I’m wrong- what do people mean when they say religion isn’t important in a future in-law?

  111. Finn – the peer group debate on here is relevant for K-12. I’d be surprised if any of my kids, or the children of anyone here, married a high-school fling.

    FWIW, most girls I knew in college married classmates, or at least fellow naval officers. Obviously the reverse is not statistically possible.

  112. CoC, I think it’s the people who go to something considered a mainline church for the community, but only on major holidays and for weddings/ funerals. I think that’s where the nonbelievers who didn’t want to rock the boat clustered, back before it was considered ok to just not have a religious affiliation. (And in some communities still do.)

  113. I suppose the preference is a matter of degree. I suspect a Totebagger whose daughter married a devout Muslim would be more concerned about general expectations within marriage than with the lack of alcohol at the wedding reception.

  114. WCE, those same sort of choices could result from the young couple’s strong support of and volunteering with the local animal rescue operation, or one of them being a big part of the local community theater scene. You’re thinking that because you wouldn’t want one of your children to marry one of mine (using myself as a nonbeliever example), I wouldn’t want one of mine to marry one of yours. But that doesn’t necessarily follow. While I would be concerned about seeing one of my children marry into a tradition that I viewed as actively harmful (such as the Duggar family, not that they’d take my soiled and secular offspring), I don’t see most religious traditions as harmful. So I wouldn’t be concerned about one of my children finding religious faith and wanting to devote time and resources to that.

  115. “most girls I knew in college married classmates, or at least fellow naval officers. Obviously the reverse is not statistically possible.”

    WCE and I have discussed here how it’s similar for female engineering students.

  116. “the peer group debate on here is relevant for K-12. I’d be surprised if any of my kids, or the children of anyone here, married a high-school fling.”

    I think that by they time kids are done with HS, they will have established the type of peer group to which they will gravitate. So while they may not marry a HS classmate (which is not uncommon among the totebaggy parents I know; in many cases, they were not HS sweethearts, but got together later, e.g., met up at a reunion), they are likely to marry someone similar.

    HS is also crucial in determining where they go to college, where a lot of people meet their spouses.

  117. Tee, hee. One of my sisters (all of them, actually) were married in weddings that featured no alcohol. At one wedding, my father’s sister passed out. (Mother was furious.) I remember sneaking booze to my sister, the bride.

    WCE, I would be disappointed should my son partner with someone who didn’t at least have a religious background. I have raised Junior in the Church, and would like to see the future Trip raised in the Church. A normal church, please. Down here we have a lot of off beat churches (cults?) and lots of snake kissing and speaking in tongues. That would scare the (bad word allotment used up) out of me.

    But I would most definitely like Junior to find a spouse that shares some religious values with him.

  118. “I don’t see most religious traditions as harmful.”

    That seems more agnostic than atheistic.

    A lot of the stuff in the news that’s based in religion has my kids (they’re more aware of this than DW) leaning more toward atheism than agnosticism.

  119. Busy day can’t read, but I do believe that we can only declare racism dead when the father of a pretty white girl will be just as glad to see her walk in the door with a man of color as a white man. That’s when we will know that race is no longer an issue in this country.

    My daughter is a pretty white girl (at least I think she’s pretty) and I would be fine with that, as long as he’s a fine upstanding gentleman. Same standard I have for any white men she might bring home.

  120. I volunteered at field day today. I ran the kickball station. I made my kids happy by not acknowledging their existance or any of their friends, aside from one kid in my son’s class who yelled out “that’s my baseball coach.” I asked him if he was coming to practice tonight, but that was the only time I spoke to any of the kids aside from kickball matters.

    The school is K-8 and they run middle school completely separate from the elementary schook, but they had the 5th graders in with the middle school for field day purposes. I found it interesting that when the 6th-8th grades came around, there weren’t any parent spectators, but the 5th grade classes each had a few. It was definitely a clear demarcation of when parents are expected to stop coming to things.

  121. That seems more agnostic than atheistic.

    Unless we have redefined atheism in the Richard Dawkins era to require being an asshole about other people’s beliefs, there is nothing inconsistent about not believing in the tenets of a religion but also viewing that religion as non-harmful.

  122. I guess I see agnostics as more likely than atheists to see religion as non-harmful.

  123. Thank you HM for a sensitive comment. Would I consider myself religious? I dunno. But I know our church members do a lot, a lot! of good. Good stuff for the impoverished, good stuff for the migrant community, good stuff for the elderly and the infirm. And we do not hate anybody. Should that change, I’m out.

    I do know that every Sunday my and Junior’s butts are in that pew. At a minimum it is an hour of peace during an otherwise hectic week. At most, perhaps, it is worshiping with mostly very wonderful people and for a few moments feeling what you really are.

    So yeah, you can think of me as being silly for going to and being active in my church. That’s okay. But don’t dump my church into a trash heap. Look at what we do. And if you don’t like how we worship, that’s okay too. But at least in my church, we are not hurting you.

  124. “I suspect my kids will marry someone similar to us.”

    OK, I couldn’t let this one go.

  125. As a parent of four people over 30, I can honestly say that the most important thing to me in their family choice was avoiding an early child, especially with a person with whom mature values were unlikely to be aligned. That objective was achieved. The one marriage is to someone from our own town teenaged acquaintances different high schools. Different ethnic backgrounds but otherwise close enough. Younger DS went through many girlfriends but this one is also an actor and a grown woman. He didn’t know what was important to him until his late 20s.

    I have always had fanatical relatives. Ultra orthodox who don’t touch women, even family, and the fundamentalist convert I have mentioned before who excuses his failure to show up for family events because we are all walking corpses. I don’t apologize for being gun shy of othe devout, even though most are not like that.

  126. “I think that by they time kids are done with HS, they will have established the type of peer group to which they will gravitate.”

    True, but I think you’re assuming one can’t find a good peer group in an average high school. Thinking of my own experiences, my closest friends in high school were basically identical to my closest friends in college. I guess I give more credit to kids being able to know themselves and to know what kind of people they are and the kind of friends they want to have.

  127. Hum… Agnostics preffered but if they must have a faith at least choose a real religion like Catholicism. Any religion that doesn’t mandate an open bar at the wedding isn’t worthy of the name.

  128. “I think you’re assuming one can’t find a good peer group in an average high school. ”

    I think it was more that we were concerned with kids finding bad, or less than good, peer groups, which I’m pretty sure exist in average high schools, as well as stacking the odds of finding a good peer group.

  129. I believe there were 9 or 10 marriages within my high school class (about 500 kids). These were all after college, so I guess they either started late in high school and continued through college, or they began dating while in college. I am curious if that is a high or low number. Probably high in today’s world.

    On the religion of my children’s future spouses, I mentioned the Episcopal faith because it is probably the closest Protestant religion to Catholicism (which is what I am). I hope that my kids will raise their kids as Catholics, but you just don’t know. I would not like them to be dating someone who is part of a strict fundamentalist region of any kind because, while I’m sure there are some exceptions, they seem to be controlling in general and repressive towards women (not sure if that is the correct word).

  130. I have heard of fellow immigrants telling their kids to marry only people from their home country but failing to mention religion. Then, when the kids bring home a fellow home country person but from the wrong religion all hell breaks loose. Some times traditional parents want perfect harmony so they’ll try arranged sort of marriages but I’ve known cases where everything matched up, the couple seemed to be like each other but things didn’t work out.
    The other trend I am seeing which Meme has mentioned is young people not wanting to marry at all. A fair number of my friends are unmarried or unattached, something that was unheard of when I was growing up.

  131. Rhett – that is still a thing with many families. There are so many different groups even within the same religion, DH and I belong to two different groups in the same religion so ours is considered a “mixed marriage” by many in our extended families. Our siblings chose their own partners and so far so good.

  132. Rhett – you would be highly amused by the home country matrimonial ads…
    I’ll have to post a few.

  133. “I have heard of fellow immigrants telling their kids to marry only people from their home country but failing to mention religion. Then, when the kids bring home a fellow home country person but from the wrong religion all hell breaks loose.”

    In the immortal words of Felix Unger, “you should never assume.”

  134. Massive drift:

    So YouTube automatically brought up another Odd Couple video. See if you recognize the insurance agent:

  135. Does anyone worried about their child marrying into an extended family where people don’t support themselves/take care of their children?

    The family I married into has one branch like this. It’s been extraordinarily successful in making crystal clear to my kids what the path of not caring about education looks like. My BIL showing them the bullet hole in the hood of his jeep from random gunfire in the neighborhood helped with the discussion of why choice of major and being able to support yourself in a decent, safe neighborhood. My husband and his brother are absolutely nothing like that branch – it’s hard to believe their related. (And also my explanation to my kids of why racism is stupid: If Dad and Uncle share genes with these people, and they are so different, how could you assume that people who share nothing but relative amount of pigment in their skin have any attributes in common?)

    Milo – last time I was at my parents I was helping clear out some stuff, and found a silver trophy-style cup engraved with something about being queen of a class at Annapolis. Do they still do that? She had never mentioned it, but seemed pleased to relive the memory when I found it.

    And finally – last day of school!! I cannot describe how giddy I am to tend to no one but myself for a while. My son will sleep in while I just get myself up and out in the morning. No more of the end of the year project frenzy, or running out for supplies or whatever. I may be happier than he is.

  136. Rhett, I initially read that as Dalek. . . .

    Shhhh! Thal Dalek is the Moriarity to Ada’s Sherlock in my series of my (set in the Caribbean) crime fighting ER doc mystery novels.

  137. Off topic, we suddenly need a new fridge, and decided to get a new dishwasher while we’re at it. I remembered you all discussing dishwashers, hopped over to that discussion, got some great ideas and we ordered one of the ones that one of you talked about. So, thanks!

  138. Interesting article, Louise. But oddly enough what really caught my attention was

    it is supposedly possible to marry into a home theater-fitted apartment next to a golf course (or an F1 track) and order Mexican takeaway for dinner

    There is Mexican food available in India? Is that what it’s saying? Because it’s hard to come by in Europe ( http://www.seeknewtravel.com/its-impossible-to-find-mexican-food-in-europe/ ) so if that’s so it’s a surprising cultural tie presumably brought back home by folks who spent time in the US. Or was that quote supposed to refer to moving to the US?

  139. “last day of school!! I cannot describe how giddy I am to tend to no one but myself for a while. ”

    +1,000. I am so happy. I can go to work tomorrow without driving someone to school or making lunches. Also, the stress level in our house has decreased enormously. Yay, summer! That said, I’m not looking forward to our traditional July and August weather.

  140. Risley, you are of course expected to provide us with reviews of your new purchases. Vicarious enjoyment of others’ purchases is on of the fun things about this blog.

  141. Next week is our last day. Wednesday, to be specific. I think the grade books are closing out as of tomorrow afternoon. We’re almost there. We’re almost there. I just have to go home and deal with my daughter’s extra credit video project (due tomorrow, yet to be filmed and supposed to feature the family as cast) and whatever else the older two have going. (Youngest is already at the stage where they’re just doing field trips to run out the clock.)

  142. Milo – I’m pretty sure it said Homecoming Queen. It would have been 1956 or 58 or somewhere around there. They must have abandoned that tradition.

    Houston, the stress level was low in my house the last two nights. My son was home from school about 10 minutes today when he told me with a very concerned face that he needs to decide where he’s going to college. I pointed out that he’s just wrapping up Sophomore year, so he has a little time, but apparently he thinks it needs to be resolve this weekend.

  143. Rhett, I also bet boy. I wonder if we have another Sandusky thing going on here. Sigh.

    I am delighted that the school year is over! That is 3 hours of driving time a day that are freed up for me. I can sleep beyond dawn if I want. Less laundry! No more lunches to be made in the morning.

    Oh, yeah. I like summer!

  144. We are having a letter of the day countdown until the end of school (of course by “we” I mean people who like to make life more complicated). Tomorrow is easy – Mismatch day. Given that I am the only mom who lets my child pick out clothes in the morning, everyday is mismatch day for us. Your last day of school stories are making me sad. I still have a lot of minialphabet projects to keep track of….

    I’ve never spent much time thinking about religion and mate selection. We come from fairly different backgrounds (our parents are 15 years and a generation apart), but I don’t think it has mattered much. I met DH when I was 19 – I think our beliefs were so unformed still, our values and habits evolving. I feel like we grew up together. We both wanted and have pursued fairly different lives than what we came from. On the other hand, we were together for 5 years before we married – so there was time to really sort a lot of things out.

    We have noticed that a lot of our friends include a couple where one partner grew up strictly Catholic (as did DH), left the church and the family is now atheist/agnostic. We once had a dinner party with four such couples.

  145. Finn – will do! I’ll have to be sure to adjust the reviews to a “regular person” context though, rather than my own. At this point, 5 stars from me for a fridge whose door actually remains closed, and whose freezer, you know, freezes.

  146. Last day of school here for DS, but DD still has a few weeks. DS took an online class this semester (bad idea, imho). One of those ones where everyone starts out with a 0, and as you do the assignments, your grade goes up. Ideally, you do an assignment or 3 each week and your grade steadily goes up.

    DS had a “better” (i.e., DS-type) plan: do nothing at all until the day or two before the end of the semester, then do all 114 assignments and go from 0 to 90 overnight. He has until June 12 to get it all done, and I’m pretty sure he was going to start around June 11. Only, he didn’t factor in that graduation is June 2, and unless he has 60% in the class by that date, he doesn’t graduate. Um … oops. So, new plan: do as many assignments as it takes to get to 60% by last night (final night of grading before graduation) and then do more before June 12, to get from 60% to 90 or whatever. (I think to get 100, you’d have actually had do to at least one thing on time). (And let’s face it — once the kid graduates, there is about 0% chance he’s going to care if he has 60 or 70 or 90 in that class. He is the best Senior Slider I’ve ever seen).

    Anyway, DD had a friend over yesterday and they’re diligently still working hard at their homework. DS runs upstairs to announce, “I have 59%!! So, I’m only 1% away from 60%! I was going to do 2 more assignments tonight, but I think 1 should do it, so that’s all I’m doing.” And I cheered about the 59% and agreed about the need for only a single assignment. And DD’s friend looked at both of us like we were insane.

  147. One more interesting link
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/fashion/weddings/south-asian-american-men-balance-tradition-and-modernity-to-find-a-bride.html?ref=weddings&_r=0

    On end of school – a light week next week and then the end early next week. I feel a little sad since child #1 will be moving to middle school and the next phase. All the mothers who were so involved are preparing to step way back. The message has been delivered by the middle school.
    Like Denver Dad mentioned, the 5th grade is the cut off, from then on the kids are publicly at least, on their own.

  148. “I’m pretty sure it said Homecoming Queen. It would have been 1956 or 58 or somewhere around there. They must have abandoned that tradition.”

    Yeah, I don’t remember any homecoming courts. Homecoming meant a Friday parade and a Saturday home football game. Maybe she met John McCain.

    “He is the best Senior Slider I’ve ever seen”

    Senior year, after I got an early acceptance at the end of October, I mostly stopped carrying my backpack home.

  149. “Senior year, after I got an early acceptance at the end of October, I mostly stopped carrying my backpack home.”

    Niiiiice. Honestly, I read these emails that the HS counselor blasts out, about what to do in your last few months of senior year: “Keep your grades up – in fact, aim to really pour on the effort in your final quarter, and end the year with the best GPA you can earn!” and I think, “Who in their right mind would do work that hard at the one point in HS when grades don’t matter at all?”

    (DS’s admission wasn’t contingent on 7th or 8th semester grades [thank goodness] – I get that if you have such a contingency, grades matter. But these email blasts suggest that this tremendous pouring on of effort is the thing for all seniors to do. “Learn as much as you can! Master all those tricky math problems that have been eluding you all year! Make the most of your last few weeks of school — get extra help! Do extra credit!”) Um … no.

  150. Risley,

    We were told that your college admissions could be revoked if your final grades were poor. But, as it turns out, that has basically never happened.

  151. Yeah, I had straight A’s my first quarter of senior year, and I started picking up a lot of B’s after that. Also, many of the AP teachers (senior year I was in AP Calc, Bio, Physics, English, and Spanish) want to use the AP exam as credit toward a final exam. But since my college really didn’t do anything in terms of AP credit, I had no interest in taking any more AP exams, which REALLY annoyed a few of my teachers, because they had to come up with some sort of final for me.

    My friend and I used to go from school to practice, and then to the local private health club where we had discounted student memberships, and we’d spend long periods of time between the spa, sauna, and steam room, talking about life and plans. It really was a great year.

  152. Our local high school requires AP students to take the AP exams, which I tend to think is a good policy. Many other schools don’t require it, and also have more open admissions policies on AP classes. This tends to water down course content. I’ve seen arguments in defense of both sides.

    Technically lower senior grades could lead a college to rescind an application, but yeah that’s rare. They could imperil a scholarship, or cause a student to start freshman year on probation.

  153. Yeah, his GPA hasn’t actually slid too terribly, so he’s fine. Though that may change a little after today. He has a final project to hand in for his internship with the ROTC, and he hasn’t started it yet. He has a blank poster board sitting on the table beside him. DH and I are suggesting he hand it in as is, and tell the school that since it’s the ARMY, he can’t actually tell anyone what his internship was about. Matter of National Security, and all that. He seems a little too enamored with what we intended as a joke …

  154. The last day of public school for the grandkids is June 25.

    I had overnight duty. DIL got her port out at 6 am today!!! I even made the spinach smoothies and did not gag. But I am ready for a spa day and it is not even 9 am.

  155. “How can they not agree with it when providing alcohol at a wedding was one of Jesus’s most memorable miracles?”

    Perhaps they are waiting for Jesus to come back and change it for them.

    Loved the WCE/HM religion discussion; HM captured most of my thoughts. Even though I crossed the religion line, I actually married someone closer to my own beliefs. My mom is an adamant atheist who thinks nothing good has ever come from organized religion, and I don’t think my dad has gone to church in, like, ever; I was the reactionary one who chose to become an Innocuous Episcopalian at 16. DH and I are more on the agnostic side of things, but my view has always been that God is too big for any human brain to capture in whole, and so all religions are capturing only a certain portion, and you need to find the one that calls to you. This is, obviously, anathema to many, who see their religion as the one true way, but it fit with DH’s beliefs — his family had always valued the traditions more than the theological (being an engineer, he is fundamentally uninterested in the philosophical side of things). So we found a compromise that gives the kids the grounding they need to understand both and carries on the traditions from both sides that we consider important. Although practical realities mean that that morphed into raising the kids Jewish, just because there’s so much more effort involved early on in learning the language and weekly Hebrew school and all of that — but then we found a Reconstructionist synagogue that really seems to mirror a lot of the beliefs that I found so attractive when I joined the Episcopalian church.

    And logically, since my own view of God is rather broad, I am therefore not too concerned which iteration/facet my kids choose — it’s more important to me that they find the path that speaks to them. I just really hope that isn’t a repressive, exclusionary version, because that would be contrary to our own family values.

  156. And our school doesn’t end until the 3rd week in June. And DD has her first finals week next week, with finals in 3 classes and ZERO concept of how to study for them (and even less patience for my suggestions). I am now insanely jealous of everyone here who is done.

  157. Ada – I met DH when we were 17. We grew up together too. And I think it truly helped as life threw lemons at us. We figured out whose turn it was to melt, and figured out where we wanted to go as a team. No trying to fit another mold.

    APs – I knew I’d fail them because of how the tests were structured (that and I knew both my history and english AP teachers were not teaching what was on the test). Both classes also offered college credit – pay a certain fee, enroll in local U, go to high school class, get college credit. So, I opted out of taking those 2 tests and signed up for the credit. Thanks to how college semesters melded with our school year, I earned 3 credits per class per semester (or 6 credits per class per year) and walked into college with 12 credits.

    Risley – your DS is my hero. Also, what dishwasher did you get… we need a new one this summer.

  158. “And DD has her first finals week next week, with finals in 3 classes and ZERO concept of how to study for them”

    Yeah, I remember in 8th Grade our Algebra teacher told us we were going to have a final exam that would cover everything in the course. His argument was that it was a high school level course, so it should have the same expectations. That was kind of a terrifying concept at the time. I had forgotten that until just now, but up until that point, every test had covered only the previous three weeks or so.

  159. My kids were mentally done with school (and us parents too) since the beginning of May when the spring rains finally abated and the weather turned nice. This happens every year, the teachers are aware of the yearly slide, so the projects, publishing parties, science fair – all things that have been worked on in the spring and are almost complete are wrapped up in May. The test and quiz schedule is lighter too.

  160. Milo – the nice thing about math is that it builds. If you can pass the test at the end of the year, you can answer questions about what you learn on day 1. Sadly, not all subjects are like that (I’m looking at you, history!). (Unless taught that way… like a timeline where events are linked, not as individual events which happen in a vacuum).

  161. Public schools here get out something like June 25. But my 1 remaining at home (private school) kid will be done next Friday. Exams are Tues – Fri.
    The seniors have been done for a couple of weeks. For AP classes that’s the final; for non-APs they work the schedule so those tests are completed when the APs are completed. They then do a self-arranged community service project for at least 25 hours and document it with a write up, video, something. Graduation requirement. The smart ones actually put in the time 1 day/week for ~3 hours beginning at the start of the spring semester and finish the project around the Easter break so they get a couple of completely free weeks between the end of exams and graduation (day after tomorrow).

  162. @Milo — yeah, if we make it through next week without me killing her, it’ll be a miracle. They have trained her very effectively that she just needs to do a specific study sheet and attend a prep class. And now they are not providing any study sheets, and so her response is that she doesn’t need to do anything. Yeah. No.

    I actually like the idea of introducing a final or two in 8th grade, before it really “counts,” as a way of teaching kids how to manage something like that (i.e., how to study when you have a whole year to cover). But 3 tests 3 days in a row is too much. And they don’t seem to be doing any of the “teaching kids how to study” part of it — her SS teacher even said that they really *can’t* study because it covers so much that they’ve learned over the past 3 years! So, you know, screw him — she hates SS anyway. But math should be easy: start with the unit that resulted in the 46 on the unit test.

    This is not going to be a fun weekend.

  163. My oldest started camp this week and her first two weeks of summer she’s going to camps where she needs to bring her own lunch (nut free of course). So no break in the lunch packing for me, although it has been a nice change of pace not to have to leave the house at 7:45 to get her to school.

  164. “the nice thing about math is that it builds. If you can pass the test at the end of the year, you can answer questions about what you learn on day 1”

    True. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have protested so vigorously.

  165. 8th grade was a tough year academically for DS, as well. He had to really learn how to study in 8th grade. It set him up well for 9th grade, but 8th grade was painful.

  166. Milo – in my school system they always covered half a year’s worth of units at each end of semester exam. After a couple of units there would be a test, so presumably you had studied the material well the first time and at the time of the exam it was a second review of the material. Some of my friends started their review for exams a month before while others crammed it all into a day or two before (pulling all nighters).

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