She’s My Mom Too

Birth mothers aren’t the only women who can fill the space known as mother. Not that the job of MOM is a frivolous space filler. No, Mom’s are the first love of every child and the base foundation for who we are and who we will become. At least, that’s what I believe. Even Mom’s who fail at mothering influence their children.

Moms are very important whether they want to be or not.

I had a mom that loved me growing up and I plan to talk about her more this week. Today I want to tell you about the other very important mom God gave me. He knew exactly who to pick to love me through my adult life. He carefully & strategically placed her just so, for my benefit and that of my children. She is my mother-in-law, Mary (Nana – to us).

I felt nervous to meet the woman behind the man I was falling hard for back in the late 80’s (89). Thoughts of, “Would she like me? Would she think I was good enough for her son?” all swirled around in my young naive mind. After all, moms think pretty highly of their boys and this mom had two. She didn’t have “girl” relationships. She had sons. Girls are a whole different creature and I would be the first “real” girl to join the ranks already set in place within this family unit.

See why I was nervous?

Without knowing every family detail, I was smart enough to understand his worth to her and I wanted to be important enough to her to be considered special enough to him — to be a part of all of their lives.

Whew, still with me? I know, it’s complicated.

I still remember the very first time I saw her, she was standing at the door of the Sunday School building at their church. She was tall and beautiful. The first thing I noticed was her big happy smile. Her face wore every inch of joy that her son was there. She was warm and kind and I instantly felt like I was always a part of her family. She has a way of doing that to people. I just happened to be the lucky one her son picked to bring home that Sunday. He probably had plenty of other choices. 😉

That day was a pivotal moment in my life. It was the day that I knew who I belonged with, my forever family. She played a giant role in that and over the last 26 years…..God has used her in a million ways to make me a better woman, wife, mother and friend.

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God had a plan for me (and I don’t just say that to be preachy) and for my life. Not only did it involve loving a man like my hubby but it included a special family (NOTE: I did NOT say a perfect family — they are pretty close though). His family would become mine. (Dear Single Ladies, You WILL marry his family. You will. You will. You will. They do not disappear after you say, “I DO”. So, love them or leave them…now!)

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During my short dating period and wedding planning, Mary was my partner in crime. She was right there helping me make big decisions and I felt confident that I could trust her to help me cherish my wedding day forever. She made my wedding flowers, helped create a beautiful headpiece (I used hers from her own wedding) and she enlisted her long list of friends to step in and do much of the grunt work for our special day. Nothing was left undone or too stressful (maybe they protected me from all the crazy things happening) even when the oven broke during the rehearsal dinner supper….all still went as planned. Frozen lasagna for all. Her coolness in that situation was perfect. We still laugh about it today.

We won’t even go into the frosting of my hair the week of my wedding. (It came out green)

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I had no idea that I’d be moving in with my mother-in-law during my first year of marriage. A honeymoon baby and constant morningdaynight sickness (yes, it’s real) catapulted me in her direction. Completely God’s doing because what newlywed wants to share a house with 2 generations of “parents”? Really? But, it was a great time of really getting to know each other and building a relationship that I may have never had. I was paying close attention to what a wife and mother looks like in watching her live her life in front of me. I’m so grateful for her in so many ways. This time in her home was Wife/Mom Boot Camp for me.

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I feel I owe her for much of my wife & mom skills. I won’t blame her for my shortcomings. I’m perfectly capable of blowing it without any help from anyone else.

The babies came, the jobs changed and my young family moved far away from her….she continued steadfastly to be a shining light in my life. Her love for me and her encouragement has always been with my best interest at heart. Even when I disagreed with her (only a few times, Nana..hehe). She has prayed for me, laughed with me….felt my hurts and shames. She’s felt proud of me and probably frustrated with me too. She’s forgiven me, extended to me unending grace and trusted me with one of her most cherished possessions….her oldest son.

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She’s understood me when I didn’t even understand myself. Why? Because somewhere along her life….God decided that He was going to give her, me. A girl who needed everything she had to offer. A girl riddled with flaws and foolishness. One, who loved herself and needed just the right guidance here on earth to point her in the right direction.

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She’s more than a mother-in-law to me, she’s my Mom too!

I love you Nana! You are the best Mom, Nana & friend in the world.

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