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Ken noticed his hands getting sweaty and his head felt light when Crissy's mom suggested the three of them sit down and have a serious discussion.

Oh, oh, he thought, I hope she doesn't turn out to one of those mothers in law they tell all the bad jokes about. You know the kind that's got her nose in your business all the time.

"Sure, Mrs. Furgeson." Ken forced a smile and dutifully followed her into the living room.

Ken and Crissy sat on the couch facing Crissy's mom. Ken reached for Crissy's hand. He needed a little reassurance.

Sandra, that's Crissy's mom, smiled and asked if Ken wanted a soft drink.

"No thank you, Mrs. Furgeson." I hope she's not going to ask me to call her 'mom'.

"Well then, I'll get right to the point. I like you, Ken, and I'm very pleased for both of you. So, I hope you don't take what I have to say the wrong way."

Crissy squeezed Ken's hand, which made him wonder if she already knew what this was all about.

"Your wedding is in just a few months and I was wondering how well the two of you know each other," Sandra went on.

"Wait a minute, Mrs. Furgeson." Ken mustered up all his courage. "I hope you're not going to ask us a lot of personal questions about our sex life."

Sandra put her hands up, palms forward. "No. No, that's not my business. You're getting married, I assume you will have a sex life and you're right that's not my business." She paused for a moment as if she was searching for the right words. "Actually, none of your answers are my business. The important thing is that you ask… discuss and answer some questions for yourselves and each other."

"What kind of questions are you talking about, Mom? Crissy's response was reassuring for Ken. It showed him that she didn't know what her mother was up to any more than he did.

"Well, like, like simple things. Things like who's going to do the cooking and the clean up after? Things like how are you going to spend your money? What are your priorities? Do you plan to have children? How do you plan to raise them? Who will be the more primary parent? Do you intend to take them to church? Where do you want to be in five, ten, years from now? What kind of relationship do you intend to have with your families of origin?"

"Hey, slow down, Mom. We love each other. We can work all that stuff out."

"Sure you can, Honey. But—

"We'll be married for a long time, Mrs. Furgeson. We'll have plenty of time to figure those things out along the way." Ken smiled at Crissy. "Won't we, Honey?"

Crissy nodded her agreement.

"You're a smart man, Ken. Look at it this way. When my parents got married things were simple. They didn't think they had many options. People married within their own race and their own religion and their roles were prescribed. When Crissy's dad and I got married, we had a few more options. Now the lid is off of just about everything. I'll be honest with you. I wish Crissy's dad and I had discussed certain issues before we got married. It would have made things a lot easier."

"Mom." Crissy's eyes opened wide. "What are you saying? Are telling us you wouldn't have married Dad if you knew certain things about him beforehand?"

Sandra waved her hand at her daughter to dismiss the accusation. "No. It's just that it would have made things in the early stages of our lives together a lot easier. And, we might have done some things a little differently. If you don't know how the other one feels about things, you make assumptions and you act as if you do know. We didn't know how to talk to each other, and what's worse, we didn't know how to listen."

"You and Dad do fine now, Mom… don't you?"

"This is not about us, Crissy. It's about the two of you. You're so taken up with each other and—you know, impressing each other. Just like other young couples, you're on your best behavior. Look Crissy, what if you find out that Ken is a closet cat hater or something? What if he hates cats but he's too polite to tell you?"

"It wouldn't matter to me if he hated cats. I'd love him just the same."

"But you wouldn't bring a kitten into your house, would you?"

"Hold on there, I love cats." Ken's face was red with anger at the suggestion. "I resent the assumption."

"That's the point, the assumption." Sandra sighed. Then she laughed. "I got your attention on that one didn't I?"

"Okay, Mom, what do you want us to do?"

"It's because I love you and I want you to have the best possible start in your marriage. I want you to go to some classes, a communication skills course especially designed for people who are intending to get married."

Ken had a puzzled look on his face and Crissy's mouth dropped open.

"It's not so much about the specific answers to specific questions." Sandra assured them. "They teach you how to talk to each other, and how to listen. Your father and I have agreed to pay for you to attend such a course. Call it our investment in your future. We love you. We love you both actually, and we want to give you every chance to succeed."

Crissy stood up, walked across the room and gave her mother a hug. She looked over her shoulder at Ken. "What do you say, Ken?"

"I have just one more question, Mrs. Furgeson."

"What's that?"

"Can I call you Mom?"

—M. LaCourt

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