Adulting · Life

Letter to my Mother in Law

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.

 

Respectfully,

Your son’s wife

Adulting

“Cooking” Dinner

Lying down on couch tonight after kids are sleeping, watching one of the talent shows on TV, I realized: I got no talent, least of all cooking.

In our house, we almost always order out. Except on weekends, where we eat out. And because we want to be somewhat healthy, we usually order from decent restaurants and not fast food. It’s getting quite pricey. So I decided to start cooking. Or attempt to really..

So I told DD, we will cook tonight and I want you to help me.

DD: Cook? Like Betty Croker cake and cup cakes?

Me: No, cook dinner. Real food.

DD: Like what?

Me: We will make pizza tonight.

DD: Surprised .. Really? Pizza? Real pizza?

Honestly I wish I can say I got this amazing recipe online for a pizza dough, and that I made my sauce from scratch. But no, I started small and easy. I got Betty Croker Pizza crust (just add hot water), and ready made pizza sauce, and shredded mozzarella. So technically, we didn’t really cook, we just assembled ingredients.

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Popped it in the oven half sure that I will actually burn it. I am already thinking over which restaurant should we order from in the 10 minutes it took to cook. But it turned out great! The kids loved it! They keep telling everyone we cooked pizza. I don’t really correct them or explain. Why not maybe one day we will make our own dough. Oh who am I kidding.

So getting back to The Lord of the Rings, I just finished part 1 of it. I never read The Hobbit before and didn’t get why there was such a big deal about the movies. But now I know. Now I get it. Add one more crazy fan to The Lord of the Rings insanity. And I don’t even like fantasy or anything whimsical or out there.

Here are my thoughts at the end of part 1:

  • Tolkien is a creative genius: As I said, I don’t like fantasy. I don’t believe in aliens or conspiracy theories. I don’t like questionable grey areas, I usually see the world as defined black and white (boring I know). So imagine how surprised I was that I loved this book. Tolkien created this whole entire new world with new creatures and everything. Each race and each individual has their own different dimensions and are beautifully thought through and crafted. Now I don’t know anything about the fantasy genre, I don’t really know if hobbits, elves, or orcs existed before Tolkien or not, but there is no denying that he is a genius.
  • The bearer of the ring is a hobbit: I loved that Tolkien chose a hobbit to carry the huge responsibility and burden of being the ring bearer. He didn’t choose the wise wizard. He didn’t choose the strong kings men. He didn’t choose the agile elf. He chose a young, small, innocent hobbit straight out of the shire. Never judge the strength of a person by the way they look. A disheveled sleep deprived mom can move mountains for her family, just like a tiny hobbit can stand to face Mordor.
  • Man is the only race within the company that gave in to his temptation: There are five types or species or (I don’t really know what the technical term to use here but you get my point) in the company of the fellowship of the ring: a wizard, a dwarf, an elf, two men, and four hobbits. Leave it to mankind to succumb to the temptation of greed and power and try to forcefully grab the ring and claim it for themselves. To be fair though, only one of the two men did that. The other, Aragorn, is an amazing leader and brings honor to mankind.

So I decided to watch the movies after I finished each part of the book. DD and DS were excited to watch the movie with me. I know it is not suitable for their age but I put it on for a while just to make them happy. DD of course spent the entire first part looking from behind the pillow, even when the hobbits were just running around in the shire. DS, on the other hand, loved it and didn’t want me to turn it off even when the scary parts came. So we got to the part where they went into the Prancing Pony, the part where Aragorn was first introduced. He was sitting in a corner with a hood over his head and DS was asking me: mom who is he? Is he a good guy or bad guy?

I said: he is very good. I really like him and I hope the actor in the movie is good too. His name is Aragorn and I really really like his character.

DS: Mom, you know, I really really like your character.

Leave it to a son to melt away his mother’s heart.

Adulting

Oh the Joy of a Reunion

As I was saying Middlemarch has many truths that still stands today. Nothing more truthful than what I found on page 51 describing so poignantly what I, and I am sure many of you, go through every day.

“We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, ‘Oh, nothing!’ Pride help us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts – not to hurt others.”

I ran into an acquaintance of mine the other day. She graduated high school with me. The following is a bit of our conversation that illustrates the exact quote written above. Lets call her lady; or maybe girl, I don’t think she would like being called a lady for fear of seeming old.

Girl: Oh wow! Is that you? I haven’t seen you since graduation! Wow you look so different!

Me: (Pride help me) Yes yes time flies by. You look exactly the same.

Girl: I know hehe. So what are you up to?

Me: I have three kids, two girls and a boy.

Girl: Ohh .. that’s so nice. And..?

Me: And what?

Girl: So what do you do? Do you work?

Me: No I don’t I’m a stay at home mom.

Girl: Oh but what do you do with your day?

Me: (Please just tell me the right answer so I can end this conversation. Why do I find that I have this need to explain myself to this woman.) You know, taking care of the house and kids. What are you up to?

Girl: Oh you know nothing really. I just finished running the marathon. (Ooh so that’s the right answer…) and now I am training for the next season. I am also starting my own business and running around now to get the final paperwork in place.

Me: Good for you! That sounds great! Good luck with everything!

Girl: Yes yes it was so good running into you. If you want to do anything with all time on your hands just let me know. We could use someone like you, you know. It’s such a shame you were always the top of our class.

Me: (Fighting back tears and looking a little pale around the lips) Yes yes I’ll call you soon. Nice to see you too. Bye.

I went back home feeling frustrated, flushed, a bit angry and a bit ashamed.

Then I opened the door, was greeted with my husband’s smile, two kids that came running, and a baby who extended her arms so I can carry her.

Those feelings quickly changed to that of love, gratitude, and an overwhelming feeling of being blessed.

So very very blessed.