In 2010 at a family reunion, we joyously cut into a “gender reveal” blue cake and officially prepared to welcome our second child into the world. A boy! A little brother for our daughter…nothing could have been more perfect.
And then my grandmother looked over at me and said , “You know what they say: ‘A daughter’s a daughter all her life, but a son’s a son ’til he takes a wife.'”
Um, ouch. He’s not even born yet, and some wench will someday come along and try to take MY SON away from ME!?! I just found out he was a boy, like, 30 seconds ago. I am the woman in his life. ME.
In an eerily similar scenario years later, my next door neighbor Larry teased me one night: “You know, Carrie, one of my boys is going to be Sarah’s first kiss. It’s just proximity.” I began to see spots in front of my eyes and to hyperventilate just a little. Whew…while I love those precious neighbor boys to death, she.is.SEVEN. I am not ready to go there. Nope, Larry. NOT funny.
Luckily, no one has as yet prearranged our third child Sawyer’s impending nuptials. He will turn two on May 1st. I’m sure the matchmakers can’t wait to set him up with the cute girl from daycare who is almost potty trained.
I should’ve seen this coming. My husband is the baby of his family, and my precious MIL cried (openly sobbed, actually) as we drove away in the limo from our wedding. At the time, I didn’t understand. Isn’t she happy for us? She is gaining ME, not losing HIM…I’m not that bad. I’m nice. I will make her proud!
But, precious MIL, I get it now that I’m a mom: back in 2006, your son had taken a wife, and it sucks to think that you had been replaced as the woman in his life. I will try to be brave when my time comes, but I’m guessing yours was a glistening tear compared to the snot-slinging ugly-cry that I will be trying to hide when our kids get married.
Every once in a while, I send up a prayer for my children’s future spouses. I wonder where they are, and what they’re doing. I wonder if their parents are praying for my daughter or sons, too. Are they older or younger? Where do they live? Have we met them already, or when will that happen? Do they drive their brothers and sisters crazy, too? Have they learned to ride a bike yet? Do they like elementary school (or middle school, or…gasp…high school?)? Do they also cheer for SEC teams like we do, or should we learn some fight song for a small liberal arts college in Maine? Do they like big dogs, too? And the lake or the beach?
I hope my kids’ spouses will be fun, funny, and intelligent. I hope the IL’s will believe they are the luckiest people on Earth to have caught the eye of one of my kids, and I hope my kids will feel the same about their spouses. I hope the IL’s will value family like we do, in all its imperfect but genuine love and silliness. I hope to hang out with the IL’s and think that they’re cool people I would like to hang out with even if they weren’t married to one of my kids.
I hope the IL’s know how to cook and clean because, well, I’m trying here, but it ain’t pretty. I hope they like sports (but that isn’t a deal-breaker), and board games, and I really hope they like kids. Grandkids would be nice SOMEDAY, but take your time, people!
And I hope they’ll be cool…while it may be easy to label me a crazy MIL (as I’m taking the time to lay out future in-law qualities a good 15 years before this will ever become a factor), I just want to stay close to my kids. NOT live-in-your-house, up-in-your-business 24/7 close…yeesh. I don’t even want a key. Or to even live in the same town.
But I do want to pick up the phone and talk to you, in-law, or my kid, and for that to be okay. I may even call you from our private beach vacation in Turks and Caicos or from the box seats at the nearest football stadium because, well, the Hubs and I have clearly laid plans of an awesome retirement.
But in all the crazy stories you hear about in-laws (thankfully, none of those apply to me), I don’t want Sarah’s husband to hate his “meddling MIL”…I want to be the cool MIL. I don’t want my sons to disappear completely forever once their wives (inevitably, as they should) replace me as the woman in my sons’ lives.
Have I completely lost my mind? Why am I so worried about this TODAY?!?