We have both loved the same man and yet, before he was mine, he was yours. You were the one whom he sought comfort from, the person who taught him how to love others. You were the hand he searched for when he longed for guidance, the person whose opinion he valued when he questioned the things that affected his perceptions of faith, life, and love.
You were his best friend, and his first female love. Though the love he has for you is different than the love he shares for me, you were the first woman in his life, and I will never be able to replace that relationship.
Then I arrived. We were both direct in our ways, and we didn’t understand where two pieces of a different puzzle fit in to the overall picture of his life. We weren’t certain on what ground we stood, and for that reason, we were cautious with our words and our actions. Circumstances propelled us in to a relationship faster than we were ready for, and at once, the entire canvas of our relationship changed, morphing in to another aspect of a complicated picture we would not understand for years to come.
I broke your son’s heart once.
I never forgave myself in the many days that we were separated, questioning what I may have done differently to preserve our relationship, wondering if I could have been a different person, a better person for him. I felt incredible remorse for how I had treated his sensitive heart, the one you molded in the many years of raising him, teaching him to be thoughtful of other’s hearts and their emotions. I’m certain you didn’t like me then, a fact that at the time I did not understand..but as a mother of boys, I do now.
I’ve loved your son always, and I have never loved him more than when he became a father, a parent to his own children. I can see the way that you raised him in the way he raises our sons, the way that he allows them to venture off on their own, to learn from their own mistakes and actions, while gently guiding them back to him when they need a reminder of where home is. You have, and continue to do so for him. Though he may be a husband and a father now, venturing in to a life of marriage and parenthood, you hold him close within your heart, guiding him home when he needs you the most.
I think that we have struggled for so long to understand where we fit in to the lives of each other that we have not spent enough time getting to know one another. While we are the wife and the mother in law, we are also two people who are very similar. We are both women who have suffered an incredible loss that has completely transformed who we are as a person. We are both women who are the only daughter in laws in our respective in law relationships, making us unique. We are so similar, and yet I have always looked at our differences, failing to realize just how alike we are. While I’m sure that my husband, your son, would likely balk at the statement that he married his mother, in certain ways this is true.
I have spent so much of our relationship considering you as the “mother in law” and not the person. So many years have passed, and there are certainly words we cannot retract, emotions that cannot be un-felt. But in these moments of our relationship, in this life we share with the same man in common, we have one thing in mind.
We both want him to be happy.
I hope you know, that while I have viewed you as the mother in law for so long, I finally view you as more.
The woman I can call a friend.