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Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: A proposal
Surrendering to Motherhood

Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: A proposal


The oldest Huffman daughter is getting married!

I’m going to be a mother-in-law!

Whew — you have no idea how hard it has been to keep that secret. One month — 29 very long days ago — our oldest daughter’s boyfriend came over and calmly informed us he had JUST BOUGHT AN ENGAGEMENT RING and would be PROPOSING to OUR DAUGHTER four weeks from that Sunday.

Ohmygawd, I just about fell out of my seat with excitement.

I mean, it wasn’t completely out of left field. They’ve been a couple for almost four years. They’re both about 27. They’ve lived together for a bunch of years. And they are very, very happy.

But there’s nothing like that moment when it becomes real.

And then he told us not to tell anyone.

No problem, I said eagerly. I can do that.

29 days, 2 hours, and 17 minutes later, let me just tell you: IT WAS A PROBLEM. Big time.

The torture of Keeping the Secret started immediately.

As soon as he left, my fingers began itching. I wanted to text my girlfriends. I was dying to tell my mom. I had to email the aunts. I was practically gnawing on my hands to keep from broadcasting the news. This was going to be harder than I thought.

A few hours later, Middle Daughter came home and found my husband and me sitting quietly on the couch.

How’s it going? she said.

Fine, we said, stiffly. Fine, fine, fine. Nothing to talk about here. No BIG FAMILY NEWS to share. Nope, nope, nope.

Sweet Jesus, it was only one hour into The Secret and I was already desperately trying not to blurt it out.

Portland College Girl called later that day.

Are you by chance going to be home the weekend after Mother’s Day? I casually asked her, wondering if she might be home when he popped the question.

Probably not, she said. Why?

No reason, I said, gnashing my teeth.

It did not get any easier. Every day it seemed like I was running into or talking to someone who I really, really, really wanted to tell.

My runner friends. My skater friends. My work friends. Oldest Daughter’s former Kindergarten teacher. The grocery store clerk. Random strangers. Oh, the agony!

I could hardly look our daughter in the eye for too long because I was seriously afraid I’d blurt out YOUREGONNAGETENGAGED!

One night at dinner a family friend casually brought up their recent anniversary. La dee dah, he went on and on about where they’d gotten married and being newlyweds.

I sat frozen in my seat. All I could think was for god’s sake, someone PLEASE change the subject and do it quickly before I pass out.

As the weeks went by, I think I did a pretty good job of keeping my mouth shut, with one notable exception.

I told my mom.

I just couldn’t resist! I knew how much it would mean to her. And it was right at the three-year anniversary of my dad passing away. See how I justified that? This is some good news that needs to be shared, I reasoned. And Grandma Sue knows how to keep a secret.

Unlike some of us.

Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday. Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @NVRHuffman.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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