Yesterday I mentioned that I have decided to love whoever it is my children bring home. Well, recently I was relaying this story of “why” I made that decision to a good friend of mine, Beth.
This story was relayed to me from my mother-in-law. It is a “true” story relayed to her by her mother; and because of this story she had made the same decision to love whoever her kids brought home.
To be perfectly honest, I cannot validate the story any further as all the parties involved are now deceased. However, I choose to believe it is true.
This story involves three + parties. The first two are my mother-in-law’s parents, Chris and Wilma. The third is “Grandpa” (Chris’s father). And the “+” are Chris’s siblings.
Once upon a time, in the state of Nebraska, there was a domineering old coot named “Grandpa”. He was so strict, so demanding, and so impossible to please that all of his children left the farm as soon as humanly possible. Each of them found a spouse; and none of them returned. None of them wanted to subject themselves, their spouse, or their children to their father’s abuse.
Then one day, Grandpa’s wife died, and he found himself elderly and struggling to maintain the farm and his life. So, he sent out letters, requesting his children to come home. All of them were returned with a resounding “No way in Hades!” (approximate wording). Life was getting harder and harder for the old gent, so he again sent out letters, begging for just one child to come home.
In the end, it was Wilma who convinced her husband that taking care of family was the right thing to do. So, they packed up their life and moved back to the farm in Nebraska.
Now, I’m not sure, but I believe Wilma had heard a great deal about her husband’s father, so I can only imagine the trepidation with which she made this choice. (I strongly suspect that Wilma had a set of mental kahunas though.)
However, when the family arrived on the farmstead Wilma was greeted with great joy and love. The entire time Grandpa was alive he treated her with love, respect, and kindness. It had Chris more than a little befuddled, I’m sure, as it was so foreign to him.
As Wilma was taking care of Grandpa in his last days, he confided in her that in the beginning it was all an act. He had enough time alone to realize how he had pushed all his children away. He also knew how desperately he needed help on the farm, so he made up his mind to love whoever showed up. In fact, he wasn’t at all pleased with her when she first came. He would mentally gripe about all her shortfalls. However, over time, he came to truly appreciate his daughter-in-law and all that she did; the love being shown her was no longer forced, or imagined.
Wilma passed this story on to her daughter, my mother-in-law, who determined that she too would “love” whoever her children brought home. She has been great in my life, and so supportive during all our times.
Thus, I have made the decision to love whoever it is that my children bring home.
I don’t believe, in the slightest, that it will be easy. If I were to look merely at statistics, it would state that my guys are likely to bring home someone very much like myself. Honestly, I can only stand one of me. Not to mention, I would think that all their flaws would be glowing in bright neon colors in my face (as they would be so much like me).
Then, there is the comment I’ve heard a lot, “What if she is not worthy of your son?”
Oh, Lordy! Truthfully, I look upon my children every night and wonder why I was blessed with my children. My nightly prayer always includes, “Please help me be a better parent tomorrow.” And people are honestly worried that I may judge someone else as un-worthy???
I can’t even comment on the whole, “What if it happens too fast for them to make a good decision?” deal-y-o, because hubby and I were married 8 weeks after we started dating.
Beth used to ask her husband why he loved her. She asked in the hopes of receiving some beautiful, poetic response, expounding all her good attributes.
What she got was, “Because I choose to.” (And for the record she has come to truly appreciate that comment, and they are now working on over 20 years of marriage.)
So, I CHOOSE to love the women that my men bring into my life.
Even if it kills me.