As I think back to nearly 12 years ago when I initially met your family, I’m not sure if I really thought about the dynamics of the relationship I expected to have with you as my future in-laws. As a 20-year-old college senior, I’m not sure if I strongly considered the real subtleties of life period –especially not the quality of the relationship that I would have with your family. I just knew that your son, Jelani, was this endearing guy that had not only intrigued my interest but captured my heart. In my immature and love-struck mind, our love for each other was all that mattered. Our love, alone, would be enough to conquer the world.
Fast forward through 2 years of dating, 10 years of marriage, 2 children, and a multitude of mountain highs and valley lows. My outlook on life and relationships is tremendously different than that of my 20-year-old self. My mentality is no longer that of the “Love Is All We Need,” “1+1=2” or “You’re All I Need to Get By.” Now, I’m more of a “Can You Stand the Rain,” “Love and War” and “We Are Family” kind of girl. I’ve learned that, yes, my husband and I need unconditional love and an impenetrable unity of mind, soul, purpose and spirit to flourish. But in addition, we also need a village. A village of like minded family and God sent friends that support, pray for, encourage, counsel and walk through life with us. And you, Marcia, have been one of our primary village keepers. For this, I must say thank you.
I know that we speak literally every day and that I tell you often how much I love and appreciate you. However, the written language is my forte. Words are my passion. They are my authentic mouthpiece and through them my soul is revealed. Simply put, writing is my heart. What better way to honor you than in my favorite form of expression, the written form…..from my heart to yours….
I’ve heard numerous people complain about the relationship with or lack thereof with their mother-in-laws. From television, movies, to my girlfriends and even my nail technician, I’ve heard countless mother- in-law nightmares. I’m even sure that someone reading this has an in-law encounter that they’d much rather forget.
However, I’m grateful to the Most High God that this has never been my portion. From the moment we met, you have accepted, embraced and welcomed me. You’ve never made me feel insignificant or less than a comparably unique and elaborate compliment to your son. You’ve never required that I jump through hoops, bend over backwards to please you, or be anything less than Margaret.
As clueless and unprepared newlyweds, you opened your home to us.
As anxious and terrified parents, you were there for the birth of both of our children. You graciously cared for them until they were preschool ready. You continually and exceedingly care for our children today.
When Jordan suffered a 102-degree fever at 2:00AM, you got out of your bed and raced to meet me at the ER. You sat and waited with me at Walgreens until the prescriptions were filled. Then, you followed the kids and I home just to ensure we arrived into the house safely.
This past May, you and my father- in-law drove a total 20 hours to just celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday with me.
You never drop by my home unannounced or intrude on our privacy. You have never once interfered in our marriage or parenting methods. Yet, you strategically lend your sound advice when requested, deemed necessary, or when the Lord says so.
You’ve allowed me to cry on your shoulder, speak my truth and have never once judged me. You have never made me feel less than your daughter. You’ve prayed for me, supported my endeavors and encouraged me to trust God and His infallible plan for my life. You’ve been a secret keeper, intercessor, motivator, dream catcher and friend.
At those moments when life becomes overwhelming and I honestly want to walk away from it all, you step in and say, “Margaret, slow down! God has everything under control,’ “I’m always here to help. Don’t be afraid to ask,” or “I understand exactly where you are! Don’t worry, it gets better!”
My mall partner, style protégé, my comedic relief , my stewed peas chef and seriously one the world’s greatest grandmothers – You are the absolute best second mother a girl could ever have. You are everything I could ever ask for and more. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without your presence in my life. In a world, where it seems as if everyone depends on me, you are one of the few people that I can truly depend on. You are a constant reminder to me of God’s infinite love for my children and I – patient, kind, forgiving, reliable, steady, gentle yet strong.
I sincerely hope that I can be as great of a mother- in-law to my children’s future spouses as you are to me. I pray that I make you just as proud to call me your daughter as I am to call you my mother.
King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed…”
So, today and every day, I rise up and call you blessed. I pray for long life, sound mind, abundant health and prosperity. I pray that every seed you’ve sown into my life and that of many others is returned to you in a far greater form than which you gave. I pray that God grants you the most intimate dreams and desires of your heart according to His will. I pray that nothing will ever be broken, missing, or out of place in your life. I pray that you will see every dream and every prayer for your children come to fruition.
Thank you opening your home and your heart to me. Thank you for extending your love to my children and I. Thank you for being you!!!