To My Mother In Law,
I’ve wanted to write you this letter for a long time. I have tried to say the things I want to say in person, but the words come out sounding trite, perhaps even insincere. You hear them, but I don’t know if you really believe them. So, I became determined to write them down and send them to you.
Every day people tell me how lucky I am to be married to your son. I’ll be honest with you, sometimes the words begin to sting. It’s not that I don’t know what an amazing husband and father your son is, I promise you, I really do cherish him more than you could ever imagine. But, eventually, somehow, what I begin to hear in those well meaning remarks is something like; “You’re lucky that such a wonderful guy actually chose you.” It begins to feel like he somehow settled for me, that I had so little to offer, and the stars suddenly shifted and I magically wound up with someone that had been destined for someone greater until I got in the way.
I guess it’s my just my own insecurity that I fear that I am not enough for him. It’s the same insecurity I often feel when I look at my children and I wonder, “Am I enough for them?”
But it’s in those moments of wrestling with my insecurity as a wife and a mother, that I become even more convinced that luck had nothing to do with my husband. Because now that I am a mother raising my sons, I look at my husband, and I see you.
I see your sleepless nights and endless days.
I see your stretched dollars.
I see your countless boxes of hamburger helper and canned vegetables.
I see your guilt. I see the hours you spent laying awake at night wondering if you are enough as his mom.
I see it all, because, now, I also feel it all.
I see your smiles and joys, the memories, and treasures, the hours, days and years you invested into being his safe harbor.
I see your dreams and agonies.
I see your hopes and fears.
I see your tears and doubt.
I see them now, because night and day, I am living them.
I hear your prayers. I hear your many, many prayers.
I hear them now, because I, too, am praying them.
And I want to thank you for it. I want to thank you for all of it.
The truth is my insecurity is rooted in honesty. I don’t deserve to have your son as my husband. I know that I don’t, and the only thing I can do is just admit that, thank God for the undeserved blessing that he is in my children’s lives and in my life, and do my best each day to give him everything I have to offer, which on many days feels utterly inadequate.
But, I need to thank you too, because he was first yours, and only because he was first yours, he has become the man that my children and I could not possibly love more.
So, if in your quiet space, now that your children are grown, you ever find yourself wondering the same questions I am now, “Did I do enough? Was I enough?” I need to tell you that yes, my wonderful mother in law, you have always been enough. You raised the most magnificent man I have ever known.
We don’t call enough, or write enough, or visit enough, or send pictures enough, or tell you how much we both love you enough. It seems like “enough” is a constant struggle in motherhood.
But I want you to know that I know it wasn’t luck that resulted in the man that is your son, the same man that is now, my husband. It was your sweat, your tears, your love, and your prayers.
That’s not luck. That’s love. Your love. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the one I call my love.