Dearest Mother in Law,
I fell in love with your son more than 10 years ago. Two years later, we got married and I thought I gained another family. How wrong was I!
Where should I start? First, I want you to know that you can’t get to me or bring me down with your cunning malicious words. It didn’t get me down when you called me fat and stupid (yes I can hear you screaming on the other end of the phone). It didn’t get to me when you declared to everyone that I failed at parenting, and my daughter can’t take no for an answer (she was 14 months by the way). It didn’t really bother me when you said I should check my son as you’re sure he has a problem with his brain and development (he too was only 15 months old). And it didn’t really bring me down when you said my baby girl was ugly (just like her mother I’m sure your thinking).
You know why? Do you know why, no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t get me down? Because I have my tribe who make me strong. If you try to push me down once, they will pick me up 10 times.
My mom (you should really take some pointers from my mom, who is full of grace and elegance and does it so effortlessly) is an angel sent from heavens above. When we were young, our pediatrician recommended that she should go see a psychologist because no one should love their kids this much. And my dad, respect and kindness personified in a man. If I ever have a bad day, just calling him and hearing his voice and laugh makes me forget everything, even if I don’t tell him what is bothering me. And if I do, he reminds me ever so gently how trivial what I am worried about is, and how blessed and loved I am.
My two beautiful and intelligent sisters are always there to hear my crazy rants. And no matter how crazy I sound, or what I say, they never judge or try to “fix” things but are always there to listen, and say what they know will make me feel better. This is my family and no matter what you say, it can’t touch me because they are my shield in life.
But my heart breaks for the man I love, your son. All he wants and is looking for is acceptance, appreciation, and some love from his first love in life: his mother. I look at my son now and can’t imagine telling him the things that you find easy, and sometimes funny, to say to your son. I pray one day you can see how amazing he is, how hard he tries, how he loves his own kids, and how much he loves you. I pray, with all my heart that if you can’t find it in your heart to be proud of him, just at least to accept him the way he is. And if you can’t see it, I pray that my husband can somehow find a way to be at peace with that, for the sake of his family.
And you know what? I am not the demon or monster you make me out to be (my mom raised me better than that). I am a fun, loving, optimistic person in life who always likes to see the glass half full and enjoys what God blessed me with.
So I won’t hold my husband from coming to visit you like you think (I don’t control my husband or tell him what to do like you think, I treat him like the man that he is). And I won’t keep my kids from visiting either (as long as you don’t spew your negativity on them). And I definitely won’t belittle or talk badly about you in front of my kids. Respect is the foundation for everything in my family and I will never be disrespectful or teach them to be, even when I am constantly disrespected myself. I am better than that.
Though I thank you for one thing, for never saying these things in front of the kids. To them, you’re the funny grandma, and I hope you will always stay this way. And even though you will never admit it, I know and can see how happy you are of my two older kids (my baby still didn’t make the cut unfortunately), and I know deep down inside, you know how good a job I am doing, towards your son and my kids.
So I’m writing this to make it official. What happened a couple of days ago was the final straw. God knows I loved you and tried so hard to gain your approval and acceptance. But now I can see, if your own son can’t get it, how can I?
You will always be my children’s grandmother, always welcome at their birthdays and special occasions. You will always be my husband’s mother, always welcome in our home. But you will never be my family, you haven’t earned the right or privilege to be on the same level as my parents.
I wish you all the best, and hope you can enjoy the things God blessed you with.
Your son’s wife