Back in April of 2016, I wrote a post on 5 Things your Kids Should See in Your Marriage after a car ride with Nino up to Tagaytay. We put together some thoughts for our children to see exemplified in our daily lives which can serve as a basis for their future relationships.
Primarily, I wrote that post for Nino. We were going through some pretty challenging times in our marriage, and I wanted him to understand that while we hadn’t been getting along as best we could, that I was still committed to our relationship and the vows we both had taken so many years ago.
I also wrote that post so I could share ways in which all married couples could enrich their relationships with the small and simple acts of love (even through disagreements) fully acknowledging that we shape the way our children view healthy relationships.
Today, I want to explore the idea that the day will come when my sons might be lucky enough to find their partner in life.
If a mother’s relationship with her son has any influence on the type of woman he chooses to marry, then a father’s relationship with his daughter will hold that same kind of merit.
The modeling that is observed in a relationship between husband and wife, by their children, comes before the next most important relationship that each of our children have, which is with their respective parent, of the opposite sex.
When we first got married, and I gave birth to our first baby girl, I asked Nino to date our daughter.
I asked him to carve out time for her so she would know just how important she is, in his life.
I asked him to open the door for her.
To listen to her hopes and fears.
To quell her worries.
And to be a constant source of stability, strength, and love in her life.
Nino’s relationship with our daughters is just as important as my relationship with my sons. While I may not have had so much time as of late, to date each of my sons, I have a new understanding of just how important these dates and that quality time we spend together, is, in my sons’ lives.
I know, that as their mother, I set the standard for the type of woman that they will choose to spend the rest of THEIR lives with.
I choose mindfulness in my parenting. I choose to let my sons know that they are wonderful people with a voice, a purpose, and that they are worthy of my love every single day of their lives. I choose to boost them up when they are feeling down, instead of berating them for their flaws.
We are after all inherently flawed in some way after all.
BUT I ALSO KNOW WE ARE ALL INHERENTLY GOOD, too.
So, it is with that premise that I know, one day, my son (GOD WILLING) will bring my future daughter in law home to me.
He will tell me that he loves her.
He will tell me that she is THE ONE.
And I will know she is GOOD, simply because my son chose her.
I write this post, to let her know, that she will not only marry the man that I raised, but that she will marry the family he grew up in as well.
And I will welcome her into the folds of our family when that day comes and she will promise her love to my son.
Because my son will promise to love her, she must know that I will promise to love her as my daughter, too.
My Nana, may she rest in peace, always said to me “You don’t just marry the man, you marry the family.”
If it is anything that I have learned through almost 20 years of marriage, it’s that my husband’s family and his relationship with his parents has had a direct effect on my relationship with him, and the relationship he has had with our children.
So it is with this GREAT responsibility that I write to the woman (or women because I have two sons ) who may (God willing) be in my sons’ future.
NOTE: I originally thought that I wanted to write this post as a letter to my future daughter in law, but now I feel like I can somehow tie this post to my original post last April.
Instead, I would like to highlight 5 promises I will make to the woman who will promise to give herself to my son.
- I promise to treat you as I would treat my own daughter. When I was growing up, I never felt the differences that existed in other families and their in-laws. My Dad’s older sister was a really important part of my childhood and even my married life, once I committed myself to Nino. My godmother, Auntie Ann, as we called her, often shared how thankful she was for my mother, because they were so close. She even joked sometimes that she loved my mother more than her own sister. When you marry my son, I will welcome you into OUR family without any pretence or reservation.
- I promise to always nurture the relationship you have with my son. I will not come between the two of you, nor would I ever make my son choose between his parents or his wife and children. I will do this in the most loving and supportive way, for I know that when the two of you commit to one another, no one else should come before your partner. (except God.)
- I promise to be honest with you always. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. But I’m also well known for being completely transparent. If I am upset, it’s evident in my body language and facial expressions. If there is something that I feel is my place to discuss with you, I will. However, I will do it as one woman speaking with another woman. With respect.
- I promise to share what I have learned. Both good and bad, if the time comes when you ask me my opinion, or my experiences, I will be more than happy to share.
- I promise to love on my grandkids. If you and my son, would like to have children, I will pray for you to be blessed with your own mini miracles. I will happily babysit. I will take my grandbabies for a night or even a weekend. I will bake cookies with them. I will hold them when you need me to. I will teach your daughter the recipes that my mother, my godmother, and my grandmother taught me. If you will allow me, I would love to teach them to you too.
I suppose there is one way I can sum up how I would hope my relationship will be with the partners of ALL of my children. I can only hope that they will treat me with the same respect and love that I will treat them with.
A friend of mine, recently lost her mother in law to cancer.
On more than one instant, through conversations, and even through when I was gifted time spent with both her and her mother in law, I saw the friendship, mutual respect, and love that they had for one another.
I know that my friend was heartbroken when her mother in law, (whom she always referred to as Mom) joined Our Creator. The posts that she has shared on social media still honor her “Mom,” and it warms my heart.
One post in particular, brought tears to my eyes. The post referred to her “Mom” as her ally. The post alludes to the fact that my friend always knew her mother in law was in her corner. Supporting her as a woman. As a wife. And as a mother.
I wanted to share this post on International Women’s Day. A Day when we all stand together. Where there is strength in numbers and when women support other women. I’m not sure why I didn’t get to publish it then, but as I was going through my drafts while laying here in bed, I didn’t want to wait any longer. This post as been in the works for more than a year.
Actually, I suppose that’s what I hope for with my son’s wives. A relationship where we can both support each other in our womanhood.
Just like my friend Kaye, and her mom Glo.