She’s known me since I was 19.
I met her shortly after her son and I started dating. I had this fantasy of meeting a nice boy, falling in love with him and his family, too.
My family had broken apart. I was destroyed and lost by its demise. And then—he arrived and swooped me up, but the rest of the fantasy didn’t happen how I’d planned.
We are very different people, she and I. At the time, we only had one thing in common—her son. Pair that with my immaturity and her experience with the other daughter-in-law, we settled into a fractured relationship.
I was the wife; she was the mother-in-law. Unfortunately, the mothers of sons get the short end of the stick, usually—the wife always wins.
On the surface, we would co-exist, but we never really liked being around one another.
And then, I gave birth to her grandchildren and that brought on a whole new set of issues to struggle over. I’d declare, “No presents on Christmas, only on Hanukkah!”
She’d partially oblige my demands; I’d get angry, and it would be left to my husband to mediate the contention between us.
In reflection, I can’t believe I ever put someone I love and cherish in that position, but I was a young, selfish b*tch—I wanted the upper hand because I felt so out of control in my own life.
I was the woman on top—until we got a divorce.
I thought, if there was a reason for her to hate me, to get back at me and take the reins once again, this would be it: I initiated the separation. I broke her son’s heart; I thought she’d never forgive me.
That was five and a half years ago…
“I have every hope you are going to meet the right person. It will happen. I know it will.” She had tears in her eyes.
We’d been sitting in her living room for over two hours. I’d come over to pick up their dog, to doggie-sit. They are going out of town, to join the family: my ex-husband, his girlfriend, my daughters and other family members are gathering for an Easter celebration this weekend.
Yesterday afternoon, we caught up on life. We talked about the stuff under the stuff. You know, the stuff that makes you squirm a little bit, but once you say it, you can settle into your bones a little more. We both had watery eyes through the conversation.
As I sat across from her, this woman who I’ve known for almost 18 years of my life, I felt nothing but love—deep appreciation and affection pulsing through my body.
She’s like a mother to me. Over the years, she’s always been there when I’ve needed her, without question. She loves my girls with everything she’s got and she raised the most loyal, loving man I’ve ever known.
I love her.
I didn’t think we’d ever get to this point, but we have.
I’m writing this today, sharing this with all of you because today is one of those family days.
Maybe it’s obligatory, or maybe it’s welcomed. Either way, take a moment today to appreciate those who surround you. I hope you recognize how lucky you are to be surrounded.
Learn from my mistake—I allowed my fears and insecurities to shadow the bigger picture for over a decade. I wish I could go back and accept her from the beginning, because that, that acceptance is love.
Today, see your loved ones for everything they are and everything they are not and love them completely.
Forgive if you need to forgive.
Ask for forgiveness if you need to ask for forgiveness.
Dive into your blessings today.
Dive into that love and cherish it, cherish them.
Author: Rebecca Lammersen
Editor: Cat Beekmans
Photo: Author’s Own