One of my dearest friends is Georgia, a former college classmate. She was a teen mom who got a late start with her education; consequently, her daughter is closer to me in age than she is, and our friendship often has a mother-daughter feel to it. I am able to give her perspective into her daughter, and she often shares advice that is better than that of my younger friends.
She recently came to me with a dilemma: her nineteen-year-old daughter,
Bonnie, was recently proposed to by her boyfriend of three years. I’ve met Jacob, and he seems like a decent guy, but Georgia is worried that Bonnie will follow down the same path that Georgia did by marrying young, having children, and putting college off until she is older. Georgia has detailed how difficult it was being an older student with adult responsibilities, so her worries are understandable.
In Georgia’s case, she had Bonnie when she was a junior in high school, and Bonnie’s father refused to participate in raising his daughter, so Georgia had no choice but to put her plans for college on hold. Bonnie, on the other hand, is already a sophomore in college. She and Jacob have a mutually respectful relationship; most of my friends chronically date jerks, but Bonnie seems to have gotten it right.
I tried to explain all of this to Georgia, but her perspective is different from mine, understandably so. She likes Jacob, but he reminds her of Bonnie’s father in many ways, and she is worried that marriage will put too much pressure on their relationship. Additionally, she worked very hard to put Bonnie in college, and she is worried that she will either lose interest after marriage, or that working to pay rent and bills will make college unfeasible.
After a couple of weeks of going back and forth with her daughter, Georgia and Bonnie were finally able to reach a solution. Rather than rushing into a marriage, Bonnie and Jacob have agreed to lengthen their engagement by several years, until both are finished with college and settled into their careers. They are both very committed to one another, so this isn’t a problem. In fact, they have already set a date in October of 2014 and ordered wedding
Additionally, Jacob will move into Georgia’s home, which she shares with her husband and their two young children. Bonnie and Jacob will each get part-time jobs, both to help contribute to household expenses and to prepare them for the adult world. Georgia would prefer that neither work and that they focus on their studies instead, but both insisted. Georgia’s husband, Tom, has also recommended that both agree to premarital counseling for at least six months prior to their wedding, in order to help them be as prepared for this commitment as they can be.
As for Georgia, she is getting used to the idea that she will eventually have to let her baby go. This makes her sad and happy at the same time, but she has done an excellent job raising Bonnie and is confident that Bonnie is making the right choice with her life. Jacob will move in over Labor Day weekend, and while this is a weird situation for Georgia, she is taking it in stride, just as she has done with everything in her life. I only hope I will be half as understanding and flexible when I am a mother as I see her being on a daily basis, but with her as my friend, I’m sure I will be.
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