This morning, I awoke to news that a friend of mine lost her mother-in-law hours prior to a 5 year battle with ovarian cancer. My friend posted this on her Facebook account. In her post, she said all good things about her mother-in-law. About what a great woman she was. Quoting, "A better woman there will not be." This touched me so deeply. And got me thinking.
My life has not had many good examples of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law cohesiveness. My mother didn't feel comfortable with any of her mother-in-laws. She, herself, struggles in her role as mother-in-law to my brother's wife. And, my mother-in-law keeps me on my toes and my defensive. Not a happy mix. The problem I see in all of these disfigured relationships is a feeling of competition. But why? Why do mother-in-laws feel they need to compete with their sons' wives? Why as women can't we be strong in the relationship we've established with our sons over the years and just be happy for him and the love of his life? I strive to show such strength with my two sons.
Now, I know it may be hard. That, when that time comes, I may question the decision he makes and wonder what he sees in her. But, certainly, I can trust the man he becomes and let him make his decisions and be happy for him. Part of my job as a mom, I believe, is letting go and allowing my children to take what I've taught them and apply it to their lives, learning along the way. If I've done my job, I've been slowly letting go all along and by the time of a wedding, my relationship will have changed with my kids. From one of parent, finger-wagger, disciplinarian to parent, friend, sharer of life experiences. One who looks for reasons to celebrate rather than teach. I hope that when my days are no longer, I will have a daughter-in-law (hopefully two) who says such touching things about me as my friend said about her's. That I can be proud of teaching my daughter-in-law how to be a mother-in-law. And if she'd put it on her Facebook account, well...that would be icing on the cake!