It’s a relationship that can be ugly and contentious. It’s fodder for many crude jokes, ridicule and eye-rolls.
It can be saturated in competition and meanness; even, judgment and hate!
Some relationships roll into a gutter immediately or atrophy over time.
Who in their right mind wants to be called a ”Monster-in-law?” Not the most flattering title. Hardly a term of endearment. Memories of the hilarious movie with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda pops into my head.
“Thank God, I am lucky. I don’t take it for granted. I adore my daughter-in-law. I love her like I birthed her myself. She feels like the daughter I never had. Which is weird considering she is married to my son.”
I hate the word ”in-law,” so a popular substitute that I saw on social media, fit our relationship to a T. Nicole is my daughter-in-love. It’s a love deeper than a legal document. It’s warmer and less formal.
It’s genuine. And, respectful.
Before I heap more well-deserved praise on Nicole, I must start at the beginning.
“I met her 14 years ago, when I went to pick up my son on his college campus, as the spring semester ended. Without a heads up, Nicole walked into his room, and my son said, “Mom, I want you to meet my girlfriend, Nicole.” That was the intro.”
She was warm, bubbly and sweet. I liked her right from the start. I felt something very special. I saw the sparkle in my son’s eyes. They seemed comfortable together. They made each other laugh. He was happy. That’s what every parent wants to see for her child.
I got to know her better when she came over to visit Kevin at my home during holiday breaks and summer vacations. Her golden spirit wakes up the room and her laugh is pure and infectious.
“Nicole and Kevin got married in 2013. My heart was filled with so much happiness because our newest family member made our family even better. She is loved by everyone that has the pleasure to meet her.”
Over the years, we would set aside time for just us two to have dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Bridgeport, ”Ola.” Sunday happy hour was so much fun; we both love our Margaritas; guac and chips and quesadillas. But more importantly, we loved the special time together talking and listening; cementing our relationship.
I knew we had something unique when Nicole told a few friends that she was having dinner with her mother-in-law, they asked, ”WHY?” She said that many of her friends don’t get along with their mother-in-laws. I asked her why and she said the main reasons were they were too dominating and pushy.
In 2018, Kevin and Nicole moved to Dallas. I miss them horribly. But am so happy that they have are happy in their new city.
“The best gift came September 2019, when their beautiful son, Axel, was born. My first grandchild. I was over the moon. Not only is she an awesome wife, now she is an incredible mom. Baby number two is due in June.”
I am by no means an expert as a mom-in-love, as Nicole calls me, but here are a few tips that have worked for us!
- I realize she comes first in my son’s life. Not me. She is his wife. He loves me as mom. I stay in my lane.
- Nicole and Kevin have a life as a couple and as parents. I have my own life, too, with my own husband and things I love to do.
- Be respectful; don’t be intrusive, sneaky, condescending or nosey.
- Don’t be bossy and a royal pain the ass.
- As much as I think of Nicole as a daughter, I am not her mom. She has a mom. I know my position.
- Keep some opinions to myself. I don’t have ALL the answers. LOL. I share what I can when I feel it is appropriate.
- She calls or texts me for no special reason or special day to keep me in the loop with pictures, videos, video chats and stories about my grandson. I don’t feel like I am getting crumbs. She gives me the full course meal.