An Open Letter to My Mother-in-Law

An Open Letter To My Mother-In-Lae

A Letter To My Mother-In-Law

Dear Ma,

After fifteen years of marriage to your only son, I realize there are a few things I may not have said to you — or that if I have said them, bear repeating. Thank you, and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry if, in the early years, I rolled my eyes at your phone calls for grass cutting, or snow shoveling. I’m sorry if I ever bristled when you spoke your native tongue with “my” husband, when we visited “your” home, worried that you were talking about me.

I’m sorry that I thought it was all on you, that you didn’t feel comfortable pitching in with our kids, in our home, during those long and busy baby years.

I’m sorry that I shopped for my own mother’s gifts but never prodded your son to remember or plan for your special days. I get it now.

I’m sorry it took me 14 years of raising my own beautiful, shy, confident, loving, affectionate, disorganized, flawed and yet perfect son to see that we are the same. I get it now, and I’m sorry.

It no longer takes great feats of imagination to realize that I will be sharing my boy with someone one day and that realization guides me now.

Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting people and gives you a window into the lives of so many other families.

All those mommy group posts, and comment threads that read like Jerry Springer episodes of dysfunction, also give me a new lens through which to view (or review) my own relationships.

Almost daily I read comments about the dreaded Mother-in-Law figure, who looms as a potential wedge between ourselves and our spouses.

It took having a son of my own, to look at you in a new light. When that light switch flipped for me, it not only turned my lens in a new direction, it prompted me to turn my husband in a new direction: back where he came from.


An open letter to my mother in law

Maybe it’s because my own son is a dead ringer for his father, but I see so much of them in each other.

It no longer takes great feats of imagination to realize that I will be sharing my boy with someone one day and that realization guides me now.

Let me be for you, all the things that I dream my son’s partner will be for me one day: a friend who asks how your arthritis is doing, a daughter who washes the dishes before we go, a rememberer of birthdays, anniversaries and special days, an instigator of Sunday dinners, and an inviter to baseball games, violin and dance recitals and school graduations.

So Ma, thank you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful son with me.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful genes with me, because they’re part of the recipe that made the three young loves of my life — my own babies. See you on Sunday for dinner. Can I bring anything?

P.S. Call your son.

Next read, the gift a mother leaves behind.