Can you have a real relationship with the mother of your husband?
Won’t she always see him as her baby and you as the evil person that took him away?
I never thought I’d be able to answer that first question with a resounding YES!! I never thought I would’ve developed the type of relationship that I have with my mother in law.
Her name is Lisa.
Her titles are Mom, “Happy”(her grandmother name), mother in law, daughter, sister and friend.
She will always be Chris’ mom. She will always be the grandmother of my children, but I never thought I’d get the chance to call her my friend.
It has been a long 13 years. Chris and I’s relationship has had many up’s and down’s. MANY up’s and down’s. We’ve loved and hated each other so many times that I, myself, actually have lost count of the times that we’ve been “broken up”. I’m sure many of our friends did, too. I’m also sure that that’s why, in the course of our 13 years, that we’ve lost so many.
Who wants to be a part of constant calamity?
It has taken many different things to get Chris and I to where we are today. Be it time or just plain maturation. We did it. And we did it together.
Throughout these up’s and down’s there’s always been someone there. Someone who had to endure the drama. Someone who couldn’t leave.
That person is his Mom.
His mom and I have hated each other and loved each other just about the same amount of times that Chris and I have. And she should’ve hated me. I agree with her. I didn’t treat him the way he should’ve been treated. (He didn’t treat me the way I deserved either and my parents felt the same, but that’s another post)
I remember one meeting with Lisa and her anger was so apparent, she actually seemed evil. Her eyes were dark and her soul was full of a sense of hate so deep that I’m not sure it could be explained. She seethed anger.
And she had a right to that anger.
I wasn’t scared of her. Don’t get me wrong. I was trying to explain myself and nothing, and I mean nothing, would’ve gotten through that protective barrier you call a mother’s love. The meeting was futile. My efforts at explanation fell on deaf ears and at the time I thought that I could break down the barrier, but in the end, nothing really can ever break that barrier, can it?
It’s taken years, actual years, for us to gain each others trust. It wasn’t just her that didn’t trust me. I knew in a second she could stop being my friend and turn into my mortal enemy. I knew she could do it in a heartbeat and not blink a perfectly lined eye.
About 5 years ago things changed. She and I were both changing and I’m not really sure the other knew it. I was embracing my mental illness and doing something about it. She was going through a divorce. Both situations, although very different, were turning points in our lives. Our lives individually and our lives together. We both had a storm to pass through and now we were going to go through them together.
My mental illness is something that I’ve written about before, so I won’t get into the ends and outs of it, but I will say this simple statement. Better living through chemistry. It’s my truth and I own it.
But Lisa was going through something that I didn’t understand. She wanted a divorce? From a man she’d been with for 30 years? How could that be?
It turns out that we were searching for the same thing at the same time.
She simply wanted to be happy.
She found her happy and I found my truth and then we found each other.
We have changed. The girl that fell in love with her son is now a woman married to the man of my dreams. The woman that I met is now a butterfly that owns her life and is no longer the caterpillar stuck in the beautiful chrysalis. We are both free to be our true selves.
I’ve always admired her. I’ve always been a tad bit jealous of this woman that could make a perfect dip, sip a glass of wine, write a thank you note and rock a baby all at the same time. She seemed like Superwoman to me.
And she still is.
She’s just a different kind of Superwoman.
It takes a special person to be a mother. It takes a special person to be a friend. Lisa manages to do both with ease. She always has time for you. She always has a laugh for you and she’d give you the shirt off her own back if you could fit in it!
Through all the pain that I’ve put Lisa through, she still loves me and I’m grateful. She still holds my hand when I cry about Chris and most of the time, cries with me. The light in her eye and the spring in her step is infectious.
I’m lucky to have a mother in law. I’m lucky to have a “Happy” for my babies.
I’m lucky to have a friend.