It’s almost Mother’s Day and naturally our thoughts turn towards our own Mothers, Mother-in-laws and our children. In a card I told my Mom that the more I realize how hard motherhood is the more I appreciate her. And I’ve always appreciated and loved my Mom but more now than ever.
I also appreciate my Mother-in-law. It’s not that I haven’t always loved and appreciated her but the older I get the more I seem to understand.
I’m aware that many Mothers/in-laws use manipulation and guilt to bring their children back home for visits or to get what they want. They get in the middle of their son or daughter’s business creating a tight hold that suffocates.
I count it a blessing that my Mom and Mother-in-law have never done this. They’ve respected us and valued our relationship with each other from our first year of marriage giving us the space our marriage and family has needed as an individual family unit but at the same time supporting and loving us as family. We’ll always be their kids and they will always be our Moms. But the day you get married is the day that relationship changes in a good kind of way. There is a natural and God-desgined shift that takes place. And a Mom who values this is a Mom who lovingly lets go. I have a feeling I will struggle with this as I do in letting go of little things in my kids lives. I desire to grow in this area of Motherhood and follow in the steps of both my Mom and my Mother-in-law.
I will never forget hearing my Mom say to me and Randy before we got married, “You are not welcomed back home without your spouse.” She didn’t mean in the case of a weekend or summer visit where one of us couldn’t come. She meant, “You are tying the knot before God and man and should troubles arise in your marriage you won’t have the option to leave and think you have a place back home to run to. You have a new home and commitment before God.” Um yeah, that’ll make you be sure you’re marrying the right person. Ha! I knew what she meant and I also knew she was serious as a heart attack.
Marriage that first year is always fun and interesting. I didn’t know how to balance a checkbook, cook dinner or grocery shop on a budget. While my Mother-in-law visited us in our tiny apartment she observed me thaw and entire bag of frozen chicken breasts, pull out four pieces and put the rest of the bag of chicken back in the freezer. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to thaw and refreeze and I’d been doing it for months. It took making mistakes and learning from my Mom and MIL those first few years. And still I’ll call with a question every now and then because we’ll always need our Mom’s. Always. Even when they’ve given enough space and distance for you to create your own healthy, imperfect, little home.
Today I’m thankful for two Mom’s who gave both me and Randy the gift of distance and space to create our own family. Who loved us closely and nurtured us in our childhood homes and then sent us off independently. I am a blessed daughter and daughter-in-law. I hope to give the same gift to our children.