I’m writing you this letter because I want you and my son to hold me accountable. I want my values in black and white, and I want to them to haunt me, should I falter. I write this as a reminder to myself of what was most important and helpful to me when I was first a daughter-in-law.
You are a dream come true.
From the moment I brought my son home, I’ve been dreaming of you. I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been so excited to see you sitting at our Thanksgiving table. You need to know we want you and you are welcome here, with us. As a matter of fact, let’s just drop that pesky “-in-law,” and say you’re our new daughter. I don’t know you yet, but that doesn’t matter. You’re the one we’ve been waiting for… welcome!
We don’t have to agree.
You and my son are your own little family now. I will have strong opinions about your life together, but that has nothing to do with you. I have strong opinions about most things. As your own little nucleus, you two decide what’s best for you, and whether I agree or not, my goal is to trust you. Even when I’m afraid and uncertain about your future, I know I can trust God to guide you. I know it will be a struggle for me, but I want you to know that my goal is to stand back and keep my opinions to myself unless you ask for it.
I want to be friends.
The fact is, I’ve not been a perfect daughter-in-law, and I know what it is to have a strained relationship with the in-laws. With all my heart, I want better for you and me. I want to be close, and not just for the sake of family peace or to keep my son happy. I want us to enjoy each other’s company. You are worth knowing and enjoying. I have no intention of missing out on all you bring to our family.
If I’m being nosy or bossy, tell me. If you want me to be more involved, tell me. If my disability makes you uncomfortable with me as a cook or babysitter, tell me. It might hurt my feelings, but feelings heal. There is no relationship without communication, so when in doubt, just say it. There’s nothing we can’t work through, if we’re both willing.
Letting him go will hurt. Remember, I was his first snuggle. His first kiss. I loved him first. And when two women love the same man… well, it won’t be easy for me. But know I want to respect your boundaries. Know that this is new for me and I’m trying. I want to love you in the way you need most, whatever that might mean at the time. Please, afford me second, third, twentieth chances to get this right. I will not stop trying.
Bottom line, you are what we’ve been missing. You complete us, and don’t forget it. I may be your mother-in-law, but I want our relationship to be so much more than legal. When I screw up, and I will, let me know so I can change. My pride is not as valuable to me as my relationship with you. We can build a peaceful, healthy family together. Are you in?
With all the love I possess,