A Tribute to my Mother-in-Law
The air smelled like ground coffee beans, it was thick with muffled chatter. I sat enjoying my Frappuccino, listening to the conversation between yourself and my mom. You had recently become our neighbor and invited my mom for coffee. My eyes occasionally glanced at the quiet and mysterious young man across the table, your son. These Starbucks “dates” became a ritual, and the foundation for a lasting friendship. But I never imagined back then, that we'd be drinking coffees together for years to come, and the important roles that we’d play in each other’s lives, as daughter-in-law and mother-in-law.
It’s a funny thing about mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationships. The world seems to dictate that they should be strained, tormented, and cordial at best. In a way, I understand that. It’s a complex relationship, a balance, like walking on a tight rope. The mother is hesitant to let go of her boy and the wife is anxious for him to embrace his role as a man and husband. It’s inevitable that at any given point in time, boundaries will be crossed on either side, and one or the other will lose their balance on the rope. Over the years, the last 11 years to be exact, you and I have had our own stumbling moments on that rope. But fortunately for us, those brief faltering moments have always been conquered with time, love and forgiveness.
As I continue along my own motherhood journey, my admiration for you, my mother-in-law has multiplied. I marvel at the stories from your days as a young mother, traveling from one end of the world to the other, with two young kids in tow (iPads didn’t exist then *gasp*). I admire your sacrifice and fortitude, departing from your beloved home-country, Germany, in support of your husband’s career and the advancement of your family. You would stop at nothing to protect your sons, even as grown up men. Just as I could imagine, I would do for my own kids.
Now as a grandmother, you show enormous love and care for my children and my family. Your visits are never a vacation. Jumping right in from the moment you arrive, you help with everything one could imagine, allowing me some time to advance my own personal dreams and aspirations. I know I don’t say it nearly enough, but I want you to know that I deeply appreciate all that you do for me and our family. You are loved profoundly by all of us.
So "Oma" although we come from vastly different cultures, that have shaped our customs, thoughts and views on life, there are a few essential things that we have in common. We are both strong women with soft hearts, and an undying love and commitment to our family. Although I'm sometimes snappy and might appear ungrateful, the truth is that I'm more grateful for your love and support than I could ever express with words.
As we sit on the dining table sharing laughs and life’s tales, with the familiar aroma of coffee beans filling the air, my memories drift to those early days in Starbucks. I never would have imagined that you would one day be my mother-in-law and my children’s beloved “Oma.” But I sure am lucky you are!
Happy Mother's Day!
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