It’s so strange when your son gets married. Random acquaintances who scarcely know me and certainly don’t know you, express sympathy saying, “Oh it’s so hard when those girls steal our sons away.”
I try not to be too defensive or too smug when I respond, “I haven’t lost anything. I’ve just gained the two most fabulous daughters-in-law in the world.”
And my goodness, you are.
I don’t go a single day without marveling how lucky/blessed we are to count you as part of our family. I hope I’ve told you at least a hundred times how much I love you, how brightly you shine, how much joy you bring into our lives. I know you hear the way everyone shouts your names when you walk in the door, the way everyone crowds around for hugs, asks your opinions and pulls you into the current game or project.
Rather than breaking up our family, you’ve strengthened it with your enthusiasm for family traditions and birthdays, your willingness to try new and crazy things. Without the two of you, and your dedication to family time, we would have never made it to Timpanogus this year, Hansie’s birthday video would still be on the cutting floor, our Sundays would be dull and lifeless.
You’ve set a high standard for future in-laws in this family. All the younger siblings recognize the need to choose someone who wants to be part or our crazy, fun, loud and opinionated family culture– someone who can jump into a wild game, laugh at our ridiculous humor, get fully incensed over injustice in the world and show proper appreciation for the latest potato gun.
In some ways, you’ve been welcomed into a pack of wolves– the rowdy games, the endless jokes, the science projects. I apologize for all the ways I failed you in raising these boys. I tried, I really tried, but I’m grateful to put them in your able hands. You’ll tame some of the wildness I could never eradicate, but you’re probably stuck with their need to wrestle each other to the ground on any and every occasion.
Perhaps best of all, you’ve stepped into the wolf den and nestled Mary under your wings. Just when my little girl needed more than I can offer, she gained the two sweetest, wisest sisters imaginable. You’ve wrapped your arms around her and offered her unconditional love. Because you see the best in her, she sees the best in herself. I love our male dominated family, but I also know the strength and compensatory power a sister offers. I also love the way you love each other– you are so good to each other and it’s a pleasure to witness.
You’re both better people than me and I’m so glad. My only superiority lies in clocking more days on this planet and, well, I don’t like to brag, but I know a lot more about wrinkles.
I know we’re only at the beginning of this journey together; life will get complicated and I will surely make some missteps. So, while we’re enjoying this simple, golden, sunlit era, I want to make some promises…
- I am always on your side. I am always cheering for you. Wherever you go, whatever you do, I’m ready to offer support and encouragement.
- Let’s keep holidays merry. You’re both so kind about spending equal time with both families on holidays. I’m so grateful, but I also understand there may be seasons when your family needs you more. I promise I’ll never sulk. I know you love us. You’re doing the best you can. I’m extending invitations not command appearances.
- Your babies are your business. As much as I adore babies, I’m in no hurry for grandchildren. I trust you to make your own choices. And when those adorable babes do arrive, I’ll be ready and on call to babysit, run to the grocery store, clean your house or anything else you need. What I won’t offer? Advice. You’ll know more about your babies than I ever will and I’m working as the stage crew, not the director.
- I’ll never try to replace your mother. You both have mothers I not only respect but almost idolize. I would never want to disrupt your relationship in any way. I can’t compete and why would I try? We can create something of our own.
I’m sure I’ll think of more, but for now, this list seems sufficient. I should note my own mother-in-law Maria kept every one of these promises.
Please know how much I love you both. I never think of you or see your name without breathing a prayer of gratitude.
I love everything about you. xoxo, m