In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I am honored to have my mother-in-law, Janet Decker, sharing on the The Well. As a mom of two boys, she has found how to show a loving embrace to myself and Evie, their wives, through lessons learned from her own experiences. Her story of is one that is so relevant to “in-law” relationships today and I hope you will enjoy hearing from her perspective.
– The Women of The Well
I began praying for my sons’ future spouses when they were very young. I remember some of my specific requests – that their wives would love the Lord, love them… and love me. Some of you may be thinking that the “loving the Lord and my sons” portion of the prayer makes perfect sense, but the “loving me?” – that may sound a little self-absorbed! Let me explain. I have a good relationship with my mom. She expresses love openly to me and affirms me. We’ve made many precious memories over the years and continue to enjoy each other! Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about my relationship with my mother-in-law, and this still makes my heart sad to this day.
I met my husband over 36 years ago and fell head over heels in love with this man! We dated over four years before marriage, so I spent much time with his family. Mike was very close to his family and I longed to shared that closeness with them as well. Pat was a loving and doting mother to Mike and his older sister… and for that matter, an exceptional Mimi to her three grandchildren! She took joy in making their favorite meals, taking them to the park and purchasing the latest and greatest toys on the market. She was proud of Mike and those grandsons and enjoyed sharing all their accomplishments with anyone who would listen! To this day, I cannot tell you why Pat did not have a special place in her heart for me, but whatever the reasons, it just wasn’t there. There were words that hurt, affirmations that were withheld, and many times I felt like a second-class citizen to my husband and sons. I longed to hear her say she was glad her son chose me and that I was part of their family. Often, I felt insecure and vulnerable around her.
Sometime after our two sons were born, Pat told me I was a good mom, and that absolutely meant the world to me! This was a turning point and we did grow somewhat closer. I learned over the years to value those sweet moments together, not knowing how little time we had left. We lost Pat to a 17-month battle with ALS. She was only 60 years old.
The relationship I had with my mother-in-law certainly impacts the way I relate to my daughter-in-laws. I am CRAZY about Alice and Evie… AND they love me in ways that makes my heart absolutely soar with JOY! God’s faithfulness amazes me! Through my past hurts and disappointments, He prepared me for loving my Alice and Evie generously. We’ve had honest conversations about my weaknesses, and I have reassured them that they can have healthy conflict with me when needed (I can be a bit much at times)! I do want to conscientiously encourage and build them up for the loving, unique women and wives they are to my Nick & Ben. I am one blessed Mommacito (their nickname for me)! Now girls, let’s get to working on making me a Grandma!!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Read today’s inspiration on a biblical example of “in-law” compassion in Truth From Ruth.