I just know it,” she gushed, no doubt sensing my trepidation. Think how blessed we all are.” Michael’s father assured my husband and me that we needn’t worry at all about Emily. Having heard enough horrible in-law stories, my husband and I indeed felt blessed. Price is going to question your mental state when she hears the news,” I said to Emily, half-joking, en route to her yearly physical. Price just wanted to make sure Emily had actually met her fiancé. Not everyone thinks like you do,” Emily said on the drive home.

The irony of accompanying my engaged daughter to the pediatrician just about did me in. “I’m not the typical 20-year-old.” Tell me about it.

So, I put aside my writing projects, parked my emotions, and threw myself into full-scale wedding-planning mode.

The timetable seemed as crazy as the engagement itself: four months. Emily and I managed to avoid the dramatic conflicts one often hears about in wedding planning.

“I raised my kids to follow their passions,” she said earnestly. They’ve had an empty nest for five years.” Not long after the boyfriend test, Emily came home for the weekend. “Well,” she said, “Michael and I want to get engaged! But the decision had been made, and there seemed nothing left to do but surrender.

“He’s a wonderful, mature, loving boy.” I felt guilty for not sharing her enthusiasm and positive outlook toward the relationship. I loved my daughter and wanted to make her happy, even if I wasn’t.

A few years at Camp Gan Israel proved inspirational for Emily, and she was gradually drawn toward the Chabad lifestyle, a path of Judaism that I, as a Modern Orthodox Jew, was on friendly terms with but did not embrace wholeheartedly. “But not very romantic.” “That comes later,” I said. It could have taken another five years.” “You’re barely 20.” “Yes, Mom, I know.” We tried talking sense into her, at least what we thought made sense. “OK,” I said, catching my breath and trying another tactic. I wasn’t anxious to acquire a new set of relatives, either; I was pretty consumed with the ones I already had.

*** “You wouldn’t believe how much background checking goes on before the first date,” I explained to a non-Orthodox friend of mine as we talked about Emily’s dating. “Later” came in just two months, when Emily called saying she had “met someone”—well, she hadn’t actually him yet, rather, she had received first-hand accounts. “So, how about getting engaged, but waiting a year before getting married? Before I could say “mother of the bride,” there I was toasting , breaking a plate with Emily’s future mother-in-law, my home filled with smiling guests clapping and singing for the chossen and kallah. I feared the changes marriage would bring to our relationship.

And if parenting is all about “letting go,” what happens when a mother is asked to do this earlier and faster than anticipated?

It’s taken a year, a challenging year, but I’ve finally come to accept the decisions Emily made.

Emily, 20, and Michael, 21, were the youngest couple announced that week, and most likely for the entire year. This was not the milestone I had envisioned for my first-born during her sophomore year of college.

But what do you do when you believe your child is making the wrong life decision?

If there is a bashert for in-laws, they certainly fit the bill.