Did you ever say the words “I wish I would have”? Like many others, I have too. Today though, I won’t. No regrets. I will say what is on my heart because I can.
I have a very special person in my life. One that God blessed me with, even when I wasn’t most deserving. He brought her in my life at the age of 18. I was so vulnerable to the world. I had ridden the roller coaster of divorce. I had been stripped of trust in ways unimaginable. I had felt defeat. I had a skewed vision of normal. I was at the mercy of my own decisions. I had chosen to take on the world in spite of the statistics that said I would not succeed. Then the unimaginable happened… I had fallen in love with her son.
I remember meeting her for the first time. I was in awe of her grace. She had a way of making me feel comfortable in my unsettling skin. She struck up conversation, bringing me into her world, and making me feel important… visible. This woman I would one day call mom because mother in law didn’t come close to the relationship we were about to build together.
God knew I needed her then as much as I do now, but for different reasons. At 18, I needed someone to believe in me and she did. I needed a gentle soul to encourage me… and she did. I needed God to shine his light on me… and so he gave me her eyes to look in. The ones that brought me closer to Him. The eyes that told me I would be okay. The eyes that shaped my heart so that I could love her son… and myself.
Have you ever felt unconditional love? The kind that supports you through thick and thin. The kind that holds judgement knowing it will do more harm than good. The kind that never ever leaves your side no matter how undeserving you may be. The kind that gives endlessly as if you are all that matters in the world. The kind that wants “better” for you in every way. The kind that would go to the ends of the earth to find it for you. I have… and today I want to say thank you because I can.
“Thank you” will never seem like enough… those words are supposed to be so much bigger than they sound, then they look. They are supposed to tell you that you saved me. You saved me from being less than what your son deserves. Less than who I was meant to be. You gave me an example to strive for as a wife and mother. You helped me look through the lens of others in place of the selfish view I had come to rely on. Those words, “thank you”, are supposed to tell you that you showed me how to love with my heart and not my mind. Thank you for the man you raised to be my husband. The one who has lived by your example. Thank you for being you. You taught me that the word BUT negates everything beautiful one can say in a split moment. You mom, taught me how to be in the moment and be grateful for what I have. You showed me that good exists in the world and I can be a part of it if I choose. You held me when I needed held and pushed me back on my feet when I couldn’t stand on my own. You have shown me faith. You have been an example of respect. You have led me. You have walked behind and pushed me forward. You have walked next to me, holding my hand.
You have been my friend. My confidant. My go to shopping diva. Our time together has always been chosen. The kind that can’t be lived without. How often do you hear that about a mother in law and daughter in law? Oh we know, right… everyone tells us how lucky we are to have one another. Our time has been filled with endless talks, 12 hour shopping days (using up a personal day for the grand opening of The Mall at Robinson.. who does that?), women’s retreats, babies being born and raised, countless vacations, Sunday football games, beautiful dinners, Broadway Shows galore, sitting poolside, spas, holidays, baking, cooking (remember that time we decided to pull off our best Julia Child’s recipe of beef bourguignon? OH MY!), our trips to Bedford Springs, and the list goes on and on…
Here we are 27 years later. We have witnessed so much together… sadness and sorrow, disappointments, hurt, happiness, love, and the kind of joy we always have known how to celebrate. Your love defines all goodness. Your smile. Your touch. Your words of wisdom. Your uncanny way of saying it how it is… and the ultimate Sandy Nan phrase of “this too shall pass”. Through it all, when I look into your eyes I still see God. You are joy mom… the kind to celebrate.
Despite all my imperfections, I hope I have made you proud. I hope I have shown you faith. With each day, I will strive to be an example of respect. I will lead. I will walk behind and push others forward. I will love.
But for now, I am here right next to you mom, holding your hand because I can.
All My Love,