As I write this, these men, who once were mine, and now are yours, are only 3, 5, and 9. On any given day, being their mother is both my greatest joy, as well as the thing that MOST tries my patience. It’s entirely possible that being their wife creates the same effect :). They spend their days wearing as little clothing as possible, being louder than I would have ever THOUGHT possible, mooning me while farting, gracing me with a flower and kisses.
I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you all the things I ‘hope”.
Let’s start with the most important..I really hope you like me. I hope I am not annoying, overbearing, or critical. I hope from me, you feel total love, acceptance, and approval. I hope you are strong enough and confident enough to not NEED my approval, but gentle enough and lovely enough to desire it. I hope that we hang out, just us girls sometimes, and that when we do, it’s life-GIVING, not life-DRAINING for you. I hope I make it evident to you that I am interested in YOU as a person…not just you, in terms of how you are stacking up as my son’s wife, or my grandchildren’s mother (good lord, I’m old enough to be a GRANDmother??)
I hope I did a good, if not stellar, job of teaching these men how to love you well. I’m trying…girls.. I’m trying.
Gunnar’s Wife…I hope my boy’s strong head, stubbornness, and creativity means that he did, and does, and continues to always, relentlessly pursue you with grand and romantic gestures. Dietrich’s Wife…I hope his quirky nature and wanderlust translate into a life of adventure for the two of you. And Axel’s Wife…as a 3-year old, his joyful heart is only made richer by his sweet chipped-tooth grin. I hope he still has that joyfulness about him, and that it brings YOU joy, daily. (Maybe it’s best if he’s not still holding onto that chipped front tooth, though).
These boys’ dad tells them frequently, “take care of girls! Always take care of girls! Protect them!” No one would ever call me a “feminist”, so this has never bothered me, and in fact, I’ve liked it. Maybe you are more of a feminist than me..maybe you are fiercely independent and don’t feel you need to be “taken care of” or “protected” by a man. I get that, and I bet that you don’t either. Would you let them anyway, though? Sometimes, at least? Not because you need it, but because if we have done our job right, they will cherish you so much, that they will find it an honor and a joy to do so. I tell them often, even at 3, 5, and 9, to “man up”. I explain to them what that means. It doesn’t mean to be chauvinistic or macho or dominant. I explain to them…clearly, I hope..that it means to take responsibility. To be brave. To be HONEST, always. To do the hard, but right thing. To suck it up and do what needs to be done. To put someone else above themselves, even when it doesn’t feel good, or isn’t easy.
I sure hope they are “manning up” for you.
Finally Daughters-In-Law…I hope that my son is as precious to you as he is to me. I hope you make the effort to really see and understand his heart. He has a good and sweet and tender and beautiful heart..and it doesn’t matter which son I’m referring to, because all of them do. I’ve known them since they were born you know, and I’ve had a million glimpses of their heart since that time. I hope that you love, encourage, and enjoy my son. I’m not saying he’s never a jerk…he was one today, in fact. I’m not saying he’ll never make your blood boil…he made mine, just today. I’m definitely not saying he’s perfect…this very afternoon, I asked him, “what in the WORLD is the actual MATTER with you??”.
I’m just saying my life has been immensely blessed by these men, and I hope, daughters-in-law, that you wake up every morning feeling the exact same way.
Your Wise, Fashionable For an Old Lady, Totally Fun, Never-Shows-Up-Unannounced, NEVER-Offers-Unsolicted-Advice, Mother-In-Law