Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Dear Mother-in-Law,

Mother’s day is here.  We plan to send a card, but there’s a good chance it will be late.  Again.   I wanted to take this day to tell you some things that I hope you know, but I can’t be sure.  I’m learning that there are very few things worth regretting.  One thing I think IS worth regret,  is missing an opportunity to tell people what they mean to me.  I’d like to take the opportunity to tell you that today.

Mother-in-laws get a bad rap.  I guess daughter-in-laws do too.   Women can behave badly; especially when they’re fighting for control.

Mother and daughter-in-laws often have a rocky partnership.  That’s sad.  A mother-in-law can be one of your best allies.  You have always been one of mine.

grandma with boys

I fell in love with your smiling, hard working, honest, kind and funny son when he was fresh out of your home.  Who should get credit for the person he was then?  His parents should.

When I found your son,  he had never  known a single  moment in his life when his mom was not there, caring about him.   You poured your life into him.  You should know that all that caring  made a really nice man.

I want to tell you that I am sorry about a few things.  You know I have teenage sons of my own now.  I won’t like letting them go.  I know it.  I won’t.

When I met your oldest son, I never once considered the possibility that my relationship with him could be hard for you.   I never thought that seeing him grow up and away could make you just the tiniest bit sad.  You never gave me a reason to think that.  I only remember that you were happy.  Your son was happy, so you were happy.  I’m going to try to remember this.  I am really going to try to do the same.  Thanks for showing me it can be done.

I also want to tell you that I’m sorry for the whole me having your first grandchild phase of  our  lives.  Wow.  I was crazy, wasn’t I?  It’s okay, you can admit it.  It won’t hurt my feelings.

That having a baby thing just really hit me differently than I thought it would.  I could see how much you loved him, and how proud you were of him.   For some reason I felt a little territorial, like I needed to prove that I was his mom.  What I didn’t see was that my possessiveness was exactly (and only) about me.

Right out of the shoot, I was not scoring high marks for parenting.  I was selfish.  You were patient with me.    I’m sorry I did that.

Do you remember when you had surgery, and you ended up in intensive care?  You probably don’t.  I do.   You were completely out, and not responding to anyone in the family.  We were really worried.  Then, we brought your baby grandson, Eddie, in to your room.  We said, “Grandma, Eddie is here to see you.”  Your eyes popped open and you tried to jolt out of the bed to reach for him.  Your love for your family is deep.  Really deep.

I have a lot to thank you for now.  I am currently pouring my life into children that have part of you in them.   I have a daughter who delights me.  She is careful, thoughtful, smiley and loves a bargain.  She is more you than me.  I’m thankful for that too.

I have been married to your son for more than 20 years.   He’s really good at being a parent.   You taught him that. You have done too many kind things for us in all these years to count.  But, the kindest thing you have done for me is to show me how to be a great mother-in-law; the kind of mother-in-law that’s more like a best friend.  I know I’m going to need that lesson down the road.

Mother and daughter-in-laws are famous for turning pretend problems into real problems.  You never did that.  Thank you.

I hope you take some time this Mother’s Day to think about what you’ve done.  It isn’t a small thing.  It’s a really big thing. The biggest thing.   You’ve raised four beautiful, hard working, good natured children.  Those children are now pouring themselves into more children.  Your positive legacy lives on, and it reaches further than you will ever be able to measure.   You deserve a Happy Mother’s Day!!!


smith family   grandkids


Comments on: "Dear Mother-in-Law," (2)

  1. We have so many MIL similarities – and apparently acted the same with our first borns! Thanks for writing this so eloquently – I believe I will just use this as my Mother’s Day card! :-). HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to YOU!

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