A new hat
The wedding was a celebration of life and love. It was a Sacrament celebrated in the heart of our parish and witnessed by family and friends. My cup was running over and spilling onto the floor!
So began a new chapter of my life, and a new hat, mother-in-law!
I've thought, even dreamed about the day I would become a mother-in-law. How would it be? What kind of relationship would we have? Would it be warm? Would it be loving? Would my daughters and son in laws trust me? confide in me? turn to me?
Oh I hope so. It's not necessary to call me mom (but I would welcome it of course) what matters is what defines the relationship, not the name we give it. I want mostly for them to know they are loved. Truly, deeply loved. And not only in a love that's a "feeling" sort of way but in the kind of love that is a verb. A love that is an action, a behavior.
I take you into my family and I'm a little like the Godfather. Seriously. Never take sides with anyone against the family! leave the gun, take the cannoli! We're going to the mattresses! She is one of my cubs now and I will protect her, defend, and love her, always.
Having been on the other side of this equation, I made some decisions very early on, before an engagement was even impending, before the right girl had even been given to us. I decided that it is my job to make her feel welcomed. It's my job to earn her trust, her confidence. It's our job as a family to open our family up to her. She will never have to stand at the door waiting to be accepted. She will never doubt her place, she will always know and will continue to embrace it over time I pray, that she is family. I know it takes time, but this is my commitment.
I take that word so seriously. It means more to me than DNA. In truth of the matter, DNA has often proven the least effective means of creating family in my experience. Family is who chooses to be part of your life. Who stands with you in the hurricane, who holds you when the diagnosis is bad, who you trust with all things. We have a big beautiful family, pieced together like a quilt. Not a seamless garment we were born into but a warm piece of art that God designed and we stitched together across time.
Words are weak and empty, actions, tell stories. My only prayer, my great hope is that my actions convey the joy, love and commitment in my heart to this precious new daughter of mine.
I will fail. I've told her that, but I will crawl on broken glass to apologize, repair and atone when I fail her. My love is bigger than my pride. My family is more important than being right. She has my permission to call me on that commitment.
My son, I am so proud of him. He is brave and strong and good. His potential is without limits. His heart is as kind and giving as they have ever been made and one day he will accept that he is just one of the good guys. He's funny, and quirky, and he has been with me longer than anyone else, except my own mother. I was just 19 when I had him and he was my everything then. My inspiration.
Seeing him standing before God making this covenant, I held my breath. I didn't cry at the ceremony, well a tear or two were certainly shed but I never lost it and sobbed as everyone feared! ha! Should've taken those bets! Nope, I lost it about 173 times in the months leading up to the ceremony though. Lost it because time had gone too fast. Lost it because I felt like I had finished a marathon. Lost it because I wanted to go back just a little bit, for a visit to the time when he was just my little man, chattering my ear off, being my constant companion, and making me smile all day, everyday. Back to the time when I was his best friend, the funniest, prettiest girl he knew, and when he never wanted to be away from me. I'm so grateful, so honored to be his mother.
All the emotions were well worked through in advance of the ceremony, so it was pure joy for me. Imagine if I hadn't worked through all that! yikes. My false eyelashes would never had stood a chance!
Look at this family. I am the richest woman in the world. Oh and yeah, they're gorgeous!