We don’t talk about this openly but Dr Hubs and I abide by several biblical principles in our lives. One of those teachings is to honor your father and mother. When I married him 14 years ago his mother didn’t exactly like me. I mean she found a way to tolerate me but I wasn’t what she had pictured as the ideal wife for her son. And I found ways to not honor her in my own ways. But that was 15 years ago and he was just starting his plastic surgery residency. He (and I) had absolutely NO idea he’d end up in private practice specializing in cosmetic procedures with a thriving medspa on the side. We had NO idea we’d start the practice from scratch together and somehow learn as we’d go, working together, helping each other and growing better together.
Somehow in the past 2 years my relationship with my mother in law has changed drastically. She finally gets my sarcasm and sense of humor. She doesn’t question when I’m a little harsh when disciplining the kids anymore. I think she finally sees how God created me to be the perfect helper to her surgeon son. My strengths are different then hers. She calls and says she needs help with A, B, C. I get it done for her.
So early this summer when my father in law passed away and my mother in law was left in the midst of a house renovation, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I told Dr Hubs the kids and I would fly down once every 3-4 weeks and just be with her. I would order car seats and install them in her car, I’d clean and organize while the kids played and give her grandma time. He said ‘brilliant, yes, go.’
I’ve been to Charlottesville twice now in the 6 weeks since my father in laws passing; with another visit booked already in 3 weeks. It’s hard to literally leave our home and routine to come and tend to an old lady. I don’t mean old lady in a mean way either. It’s just her pace is much, much slower then ours. I feel disconnected from the business when I’m here. I feel like it’s a struggle to stay on top of emails, calls and texts. My focus is on Granny and the kids and getting things done around her house. I’m overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Her home is filled with 40 years of memories. I’m helping sort through it all to know what is worth keeping and what isn’t. Right down to the kitchen drawers. Each day is different. Each night I’m left exhausted and cherishing the few quiet hours I can think, read and listen to the crickets outside.
The hardest part is knowing what to say or not to say when something comes up about my father in law. My kids nonchalantly mention him. I cringe. I know she’s hurting and grieving, although she’s tough and won’t show it easily. They were married 53 years. That’s not nothing!
I really hope what the kids and I do is helpful to her. I feel like we fly in, create frenzy and noise for a few days, then leave. But I really try to leave the house with more peace and order then when I came in.
This life is hard. And we don’t get to chose our family. But right now I’m thankful to be a part of this one. I know I’m in the right place and serving the right person. So am I the daughter in law of the year? No. Just a woman helping another woman.