*In honor of Mother’s Day, Parentology is sharing stories from people who have women that hold a special place in their lives. Someone other than their mother. Someone they cherish and hold dear. Other Mothers.
The term “mother-in-law” does not usually inspire warm and fuzzy feelings. Anyone who’s ever been married knows that becoming “in-lawed” is not always easy. Joining two families with different backgrounds, ideologies and traditions is challenging at best. It was no different for me.
I loved my mother-in-law. Gloria and I had a lot in common personally. She was funny, opinionated and often drove me crazy (I’m assuming the feeling was mutual). I never thought much about my relationship with her and what it meant to me, until I lost her.
I’m very close with my own mother so, when I got married, I wasn’t looking for a mother figure. I have one and she’s amazing. I was lucky, I liked my mother-in-law. It was easy for me to include her in my life. So, now when I think back about all of the important moments, I realize—almost by accident — Gloria was there.
She was there when I found my wedding dress. She was at every one of the 5,000 bridal showers. She was there when I got my first big promotion and was so proud of me. She was there for the birth of all three of my children. She stayed with us to help me each time I brought a new baby home. She was there for all of it.
I wish I’d told Gloria I loved her more often. I think she knew. When she was going home after the birth of my youngest child, I sat with her and told her how much it meant to me that she had always been there for me. I told her I appreciated her. I told her what good mother-in-law she was, because she really was. I told her that as my kids’ “Granny” she truly shined.
When Gloria got sick, she wrote me a note that I’ll forever cherish. She thanked me for being a good wife to her son and a good mother to her grandchildren. While I know I’m not supposed to seek approval from others, I’m human and wanted to make her proud. Her note made me realize maybe I had.
And then she was gone. While trying to help everyone through their grief, I almost forgot my own. But grief doesn’t really let you forget — it’s good like that. I think about Gloria all of the time. I miss her. I’m sad that she’s not here to see my kids grow up because she loved them more than anything.
I’m also glad I had her in my life. I’m so grateful for all of our long conversations. I’m thankful for all of the things we got to celebrate together. I appreciate the things she taught me along the way. I realize now that even though I wasn’t looking for another mother, it was my great fortune to have one.
Do you have a story about your “Other Mother” you’d like to share with Parentology and its readers? We’d love to hear it. Feel free to email a member of our editorial staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.