Clearly, I'm getting old and feeling pretty squishy. My last son to get married is tying the knot in less than two weeks. I've been spending a lot of time just thinking.... (danger).
Anyway - just some words to the luckiest girls in the world. The ones that married (or soon to marry) my boys.
Thus, an open letter to my daughter-in-love's
My dear sweet girls,
Yes, I do feel like you're mine. In a way. See, you are now intertwined with my eternal family unit forever so yes, I guess I like to call you mine.
I am and will be forever blessed because of each one of you. You each bring a unique and wonderful flavor to our family soup. That extra certain spice that would ruin the whole meal if it was missing. Thank you for being a part of us.
I know it's not easy. My son?! Being married to my family?! Our silliness, irreverence, immaturity, and lack of an attention span longer than a gnat's is sure to be exasperating. You probably figured that out the first time you were here for Sunday dinner. But in spite of that I hope you felt how much we love each other and that includes you. It's more than the fact that you love my son, so by default I love you....no - it's much more than that. I love you because you are everything I could ever want for my son and our family. You are perfect for the man you are married to.
It's interesting being the mother of boys. My biggest worry about them growing up and getting married is that they would no longer spend much time here. I know with girl's it seems that they always tend to migrate more to her mother's house. I get that. I truly do. So whenever I would think of my son's getting married, I would try to resign myself to that picture. Oh how each of you have proven me wrong!
Thank you for sharing your husband with me and his Dad. Thanks for letting us stay so connected. Thanks for thinking of and showing consideration for our feelings. Thank you for loving my son.
Just so you know, we did try hard to teach them to not be annoying. As each one was potty trained, they were taught: Lid/seat down, wash hands. Lid/seat down, wash hands. Lid/seat down, wash hands. Over and over again. That was just part of the "going big boy potty" routine. If he gets lazy and leaves the seat up - call him out on it. He was taught better.
He knows how to clean. Saturday's were "scour the house" day. When they were little and Splenda worked weekends, we would scour the house and then do a hike in the mountains during the summer. He knows how to mop a floor, dust and vacuum, and clean a toilet like a professional. If he does less than a stellar job, remind him. Actually, remind of the time his mother lost her ever loving mind and yelled that "everyone who has a penis, get in here right now". I promise, you won't need to repeat the cleaning reminder.
He knows how to cook. Because they grew up with a mom who hates cooking and a dad who is good and would do it all, they clearly understand there are no "rules" about who does the cooking. In fact, if I can share a secret: Screw up dinner once in awhile. But offer to clean the kitchen if he will cook. Guaranteed, you will get yummy dinners and then won't have to go behind him and clean the kitchen again. You'll have done it "right" the first time. *wink wink*
He also knows how to do laundry. Albeit, they all take short cuts, so let's be honest, unless you truly hate it - you might want this one. Splenda Daddy ruined too many shirts of mine our first year so he is no longer allowed to go near the laundry. It's best that way. If worse comes to worst, my son has been taught and he can, but you should think carefully about whether you want to let him.
He can be tight with money. Sorry. I blame Splenda Daddy for that. He will also think things through quite extensively when making large purchases or big decisions. Again, you can thank Splenda for that one. However, I think you will find that after many years, it's a huge blessing that he is so frugal with the money. He knows how to manage it and how to take care of his responsibilities. Again, Splenda gets the credit for that. Any impulsivity he displays lies squarely on my shoulders. I'm so sorry.
He makes a great Daddy. Either now or in the future. They had the greatest example in their own father. Don't worry about him changing a diaper or helping with baths or feedings. Natural's. Very hands on and I think you'll find that refreshing. You'll never need to "ask my husband if he can babysit". There is no such thing as a dad babysitting his own kid. Your husband understands this.
As for how he treats you? Again, he had the best example possible, so expect to be treated like a queen. Anything less, and Splenda finds out? Well - let's just say there might be some serious dirtbag arse kickin. Your husband knows the value of a woman and how she should be treated. He understands her feelings and the importance of being validated. My only suggestion would be to let him know your treat of choice in cases of extreme hormone swings or depression so that he can be prepared at all times. He's been taught to treat his wife as his number one priority, but he also knows not to let himself be taken advantage of. Why do you think he picked you to marry? He knew that you show him the same in return. It's one of the many things I also love about you.
When you do have your inevitable differences? Don't bring them to me or Splenda. Or your Mom, or your friends or your coworkers. Take them to each other and the Lord. You will easily forgive your husband much quicker than anyone else and you don't want them thinking any less of your prince because of a simple spat between the two of you. Keep your privacy. Your marriage is YOURS and no one else's. Create boundaries for yourselves with other family members and friends. Ultimately when all is said and done, it's just you two. Make it the best DUO you can. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. The only third party referee or consultant you should have is God.
Extended family time? I love that we can all be together and if I had my wish, we'd have one big compound with acres of property that we all loved on together. But in reality, that is neither reasonable nor healthy. So let's make sure we get together on a regular basis and talk often, but don't forget that YOUR family is your first priority. Splenda Daddy and I understand.
Thank you for being such a wonderful mother to your children. Our grandchildren. Whether you have one now, one on the way or one in the future - you are THE link for us to our posterity. You are a crucial piece in our eternal family and we love you for it. We love that you are willing to share them with us and allow us to be grandparents and create memories just as we have with our own grandparents. Isn't it such a cool thing how the whole family cycle works? Thank you. Thank you for being a part of ours.
And finally, I want to express again my love for you. Each one of you. Kar, 'Tana and Mind. Every day I thank Heavenly Father for you being in our lives. For your goodness and for your love of my son(s). You are everything I could have ever dreamed and hoped for. A mother's love for her son is a very unique thing, I hope you'll each get to experience it. And honestly, it's a hard thing to let them go to another woman for the rest of their lives and beyond. However, because each one of you is such an outstanding daughter of God and woman in the gospel, it has eased that for me. I don't worry about them. I don't fear about their feelings, if their wife is being nice, if she will let him come over to visit, if I'll get to see or babysit the baby. You have each embraced me and welcomed me in your lives and I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
So carry on my good girls. You are amazing. You make my son happy. You make me happy. You complete him. You complete our family. I can never adequately express how much that means to me nor how much I love each of you.
PS - To my Jillie: You were a daughter to me. I loved when you called me 'Mom', I loved our talks and I loved your spunky fun. I love you and I thank you for teaching me so much on how to be a mother-in-law.