The pain of not being close to your mother is something that a young person should never experience. My husband knows this all too well.
As I have previously written, we took my husband’s mother in early on in our marriage to help her get back on her feet. But then she forced her son to choose between her and me. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t easy, but my husband chose to prioritize his relationship with his wife. His mother soon left, leaving both of us heartbroken.
It is hard for my husband to even talk about his mother now, but one thing that always puts a smile on his face is when you ask him about his “Nana.” Growing up, my husband’s mother used drugs and was in a lot of abusive relationships. She was not a good mother to my husband, so his grandmother would step in. Nana bought his clothes, helped with food, and made sure he always had everything he needed. His grandmother took him in for long periods of time when his mother couldn’t provide for him.
The first time I met her she embraced me and loved me. When my husband’s mother left our home under such terrible circumstances, I was terrified that I would lose the burgeoning relationship I had with his grandmother. After all, this is her daughter who left our home because she claimed to hate me. Instead, his grandmother reached out to us with open arms and a heart full of love. She explained that she loves her daughter with her entire heart, but she understood that we did all that we could to help her.
Ever since that terrible experience my relationship with Nana has grown immensely. Her kind heart, sweet spirit, and loving words make her one of a kind. It has meant the world to have her in my life. There have been many times when I will receive a surprise package in the mail filled with a bunch of little things that made her think of me and that she knew I would like. Things like candy, fuzzy socks, toys for my children, and always a card full of sweet words about how much she loves us all.
Just as Nana was a mother to my husband when his real mother couldn’t be, she has been a mother-in-law to me when my real one rejected me. My husband’s grandmother chose to love me despite the difficulties with her daughter. I hope one day to establish a healthy relationship with my mother-in-law, so does my husband. But in the meantime, we are making due with the relationships we have. It can be easy to wallow in self-pity over the people we wish to be close to but aren’t. Seeing the love from those who choose to be in our lives, however, has led me to appreciate them even more.
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