The age old story of older women being crones and treating younger women horribly, or even trying to delete them permanently, such as the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, is very ingrained in our culture. This story has morphed into the mean mother-in-law who hates her daughter-in-law for stealing away her young, handsome son.
I really haven’t found this to be true. My personal experience and the experiences of my friends has led me to be perplexed as to why this false myth is so easily accepted. And as a woman it causes me to be angered that such an image goes unchallenged.
So, to celebrate Mother’s Day I am sharing this updated letter I wrote several years ago to my dear daughter in law Hillary. I invite you to share a post about a woman whose friendship is dear to you.
When I gave David your telephone number without ever having met you, I didn’t think about the future. I just wanted him to meet a nice, smart gal and from your Dad’s description you fit the bill. Little did I know what happy forces I was unleashing into the universe that day.
Now that you have a son of your own, you have experienced love at first sight. You are starting to realize the very special bond between a Mom and her son. No one, not even your husband, is ever going to look at you with such complete adoration. Sons think we hung the moon and the stars in the heavens just for them. And wait until Lucas gets older and his friends start hanging around. They will awkwardly flirt with you and you will laugh and feel so young. It is very difficult to be a good mother and let that relationship transform. It is so very difficult to say to yourself another woman is now responsible for handing the moon and the stars. Although, truth to be told, there are moments when David is being difficult, I say to myself, “Well, thank you Lord, he isn’t my problem any more.”
David and I were so very close when he was growing up. His intellect is so razor sharp that we could debate and talk about everything under the sun. He confided his hopes, ambitions and misgivings. No wonder when he left for college, I went to bed a cried.
I wanted so much for David but most of all I wanted him to be happy. I am so grateful for that phone call. David has a woman for this part of his life that loves him with the same intensity that I do. You have brought to David and opened in our family a new vein rich in love. Watching you recently with Lucas and David, Dom and I agreed that it gives us peace knowing what an incomparable mother and wife will be taking care of our “boys” when we pass.
I have been so grateful that you have become my friend and confidant. I so hoped in my heart when you and David were married that we would one day become friends, that is why I told you to call me Bernadette and not the mandatory Mom. I wanted you to see me for the person I am and not David’s Mom.
Little did I know when I wrote the above words how your importance to our family would grow. I have watched you make many many sacrifices out of love for David and your family. You are a very special mother and my love and respect for you has grown over the last several years. I am grateful to have you in my life as my much loved friend and cherished family member.