When you hear the word “requiem”, you always think death. But in death, there is new life. As the last chords of the requiem for the Mother of the Bride plays, a new life is indeed born. Welcome, Mother-in-Law.
Admittedly, I was never comfortable with my own Mother-in-Law. She was kind on one hand, but with each kindness, there were strings or clauses. She spent much of the first 24 years of my marriage making me feel guilty whenever I would spend time with my own parents, even in my mother’s final days. I hung in so long trying to be a “good” daughter-in-law, because I thought that anything I did to alienate her would cause my children to lose their grandmother’s affection. It turns out that that affection had its own variety of strings.
As a Mother of the Bride, everything is planning and parties and fun. You get to pick out flowers and help choose gowns. You taste food, eat cake, and drink champagne.
As a Mother-in-Law, it’s all stress and worry about not interfering but not coming off as uncaring. It’s about not trying to impose our family’s traditions (and baggage) on someone else’s child. It’s about making someone else’s child feel all the feels your own kids feel – without making them feel like they betray their own parents to do so.
When the mother of the bride gig is over, the real work kicks in. Gone is the woman whose biggest stress was losing 40 pounds or finding Spanx built to make it look like she did. She has been replaced by the woman who wants her new son to know we don’t as much need him to “fit in” as much as we need to be accepted.
I will miss the Mother of the Bride. She served her purpose for 18 months, saw her aspirations fulfilled, and left a legacy of merriment that will be long remembered.
I am intimidated by this Mother-in-Law, and I pray I don’t screw up the role too terribly.