A Mother I Chose (Sort of) And One Who Was Given to Me

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My mother-in-law Dee on the left and my mom on the right at my wedding.

I’ve written a bit about my mom but I don’t think I’ve written anything about both my mom and my mother-in-law. While both are great in their own special ways, my mom and I have been bound by fate, luck, curse, whatever larger force you want to believe in and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but it’s better than a lot of people I know and I know how blessed I’ve been. Our biggest strength and our biggest weakness is that we are too much like each other. Stubbornness runs deep with both of us and we both are absolutely convinced all of the time that our way is the best way, even if we have to hurt each other to show each other how much we care about each other.

But my mom has also been unflaggingly supportive of every passion and hobby in my life from silly early ventures like ventriloquism and magic, to life-long pursuits like writing and theater. She’s read every story, most of every book, been to every play and concert and whatever we called those things we put on in our back yard when we got bored. She supported my reading habit and encouraged me to read widely and for fun. Since I’ve been young, I’ve had a special bond with my mom. We used to go shopping a lot for my birthday and for Christmas and I used to go grocery shopping with her every Saturday. Lunch was always our thing in the way that movies are my thing with my dad. We were able to go to lunch at PF Chang’s last week in celebration and it was just as enjoyable as it’s always been and I need to remember to make more room in my life for stuff like that with her.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is someone I chose, sort of, when I chose Becky. While the old cliche is that the man has to impress his father-in-law and ask the father-in-law for his blessing in marriage, I was always more concerned with impressing Becky’s mom and she made me work a lot harder for it. It may come as a shock to some people who haven’t known me that long, but my relationship with Becky did not get off to the best start and I was kind of a moron for a few months early on. My mother-in-law was key in both pushing me to be less of a moron and encouraging Becky to give me several more chances than I deserved.

Since then she’s been very encouraging of my writing and thinks it’s cool that I’m having some success with a lifelong dream. My in-laws come from more traditional stock where people may have dreams, but they’re never really given the chance to pursue them. She’s never looked down on me for making my way through life on my own terms and making my living in areas that are not traditionally noted as masculine fields. I’ve been welcomed into their family as one of their kids, and as the first one to marry in the family, I feel possessive and protective of my siblings-in-law in a way I wouldn’t have expected. I see myself as “real” family and the other boyfriends and girlfriends who come through as interlopers.

So as we celebrate Mother’s Day today, I want to say how happy I am and how lucky I got with both the mother I was dealt and the mother I played into. I love them both.