Whenever I’m around my girlfriends, I hear them talk about their mother-in-laws. All the things they do for them and the kids. The sleep overs, shopping, crafts, the birthday party planning, and celebrations together. The advice they get and the stories they hear about their husbands when they were little.
When I listen to them share, I don’t think about my mother-in-law but about my own mother. And how she does mother-in-law type things for my husband and the stories she tells him about me. All embarrassing of course. I think about how we celebrate together and how we appreciate the relationship she has with our kids. I grew up with having fun this time of year as my mom’s birthday and mine are only days apart. We’ll be celebrating my mom in a couple of weeks. It’s the same day that, several years ago, a little boy was mourning the loss of his mom. I listened when he told me about how his mom was diagnosed and passed away months later in the spring. “That’s my mom’s birthday”. I remember the exact moment when we discovered that our moms shared a significant day.
From what I hear, my husband’s mom was unforgettable. She was incredibly funny, highly intelligent, loved God with every ounce of her soul, and loved her friends and family intensely. She was also not a woman to be messed with. My husband has told me numerous times about how she had words with the mom of the neighborhood boy that tried stealing my husband’s bike. She was a protector of those she loved. I’ve heard my husband reflect back at his life and say that certain things would have been different and would now be different if his mom were here. I believe that’s true. I feel it’s true. When the Pearson’s talk about how their dad has been gone longer than they had him, it resonates in our house. We live that reality. My husband has been missing his mom almost three times as long as she mothered him. This Is Us hits us where it hurts and gives us all the feels and way too many tears.
Even with just the time I’ve known him, there’s always an empty space. Someone else that’s missing and that we’re missing. Only one mom at the wedding, one mom at the birth of our kids, one mom at Grandparents’ Day, one mom at recitals and games, one mom at family emergencies. My mom doing double mom and double grandma duty. My husband has been blessed with a large and loving family of full of women with grandmas, aunts, and cousins. His aunt altering my wedding dress, his aunts lighting the unity candle, his aunts visiting our new baby, his grandma sending us meals, and his other grandma telling us how much our oldest daughter looks like her daughter: my husband’s mom. And now he has sister-in-laws, 4 nieces, a wife, a mother-in-law, a new step-mom, and three daughters. He has been surrounded by women that love him. But I know that no one is like your own mom. No one knows you like your own mom. No one loves you like your own mom.
My husband’s mom. She is dear to me, because she raised him to the fullest in the short time she had. The woman that will always on this side of Heaven be my husband’s mom and not my mother-in-law. I’m hoping I’m loving her son like she had prayed and raising her grandkids the way she hoped. One day, I won’t just have stories and pictures to know her by but will know her myself. I’ll hear her tell stories about her son. And I’ll have a few to share with her. When she’ll finally be my mother-in-law. Until, then, my husband’s mom, you are deeply missed. And not just on the big occasions, but every single day.