To my Mother-in-law Irela, I always thought Mother-in-law’s were meant to be these horrible, nagging creatures, like Medusa from Greek mythology or Jane Fonda from the movie Monster-in-law. You’ve proved me wrong.
When I travelled across the pond to visit your daughter for the very first time, you were very hospitable, pushing your daughter aside to give me a welcoming hug before she could get to me. You must have been very excited to meet me for the first time, nothing to do with the fact your daughter was so nervous that she needed you to break the ice, not at all. It was a daunting experience to meet you. I’d managed to win your daughter’s approval, yet a Mother’s approval is another matter entirely. I know what you’re thinking, what wasn’t there to love about me? Believe it or not, I’m not perfect. Oh, you weren’t thinking any of that? Okay then.
I knew very early on that your daughter was special to me, which meant that from the off I was on my best behaviour. Over pronouncing everything in my English accent to sound like Prince William, I did my best to present the gentleman that your daughter deserved. To this day I hope I am still fulfilling that criteria, if your daughter tells you otherwise, don’t believe a word she says.
It’s been over two years now since we were last in each other’s company, and with my terrible record of keeping In touch, we have barely spoken in that time. Despite my inability to keep in touch with friends and family, it doesn’t mean I don’t still think about them, i just can’t pick up the phone without getting easily distracted. This Mother’s day I would like to share some of the memories i have of you as my Mother-in-law. After all, as a special and irreplaceable part of my wife’s life, a few brownie points would be convenient to have in my back pocket.
Every time I got the news that you were cooking, my taste buds would start to tingle and I’d feel a sense of excitement like a sugar fuelled child on Christmas day. Your daughter often reminds me of an occasion in which we were having some relaxing alone time in each other’s company, before I had to depart to the kitchen for a glass of water. Half an hour later she would come searching for me, only to find me in a somewhat compromising position… enjoying a delightful bowl of your chicken soup. I don’t believe she has ever got over this incident, it is a moment that trust issues are based on. To this day your daughter can’t make soup for dinner without seeing the little twinkle in my eye. I don’t believe I will ever be forgiven for this little indiscretion, but my recollection of the event will always be fonder than hers.
During my visits you were often roped into being our chauffeur, driving us from A to B via F and G, all to the soundtrack of Kelly Clarkson who had found herself stuck in the CD player. I don’t like to point fingers, but I hold you personally responsible for my knowledge of all her greatest hits. To this day, I can’t hear her on the radio without having vivid flashbacks. Driving us around was always thirsty work, so it was a good thing you always had a refreshing glass of ICE (?!) Close to hand. When we weren’t serenaded by Kelly Clarkson you loved nothing more than telling me stories about your daughter. She would join in during particularly fond memories whilst blushing during the embarrassing moments. With your help, we even managed to get her to perform one of her cheers from her cheerleading days. Isn’t embarrassing your children what being a parent is all about?
When your daughter and I finally had a daughter of our own, I was able to witness first hand all the love in which she had been raised. The day our daughter Ava was born, it was no secret how desperately you wished you were in that room too. After the birth, I came to the waiting room to give you the all clear to come and see your granddaughter for the first time. If I got excited over your chicken soup, then this was excitement on a very different scale. You looked at Ava in the same way I look at a perfectly frosted cake. I see that same look in your daughter’s eyes when she gazes upon her too.
It’s this unconditional love for your children that I see in you both. Your daughter has taken so many great influences from you. Where she leaves the random outbursts of song to me, I believe she has inherited many fine attributes. She has a great sense of humour, she’s kind and caring, and luckily for me she has your talents in the kitchen. You raised your daughter to become a great person and an even greater mother. I see a bond grow between her and Ava every day, into a bond she also shares with you.
Thank you for being your daughter’s best friend, inspiration and a mother who loves her unconditionally. Ava and I would like to raise a shot of Tequila to you both this Mother’s day, unfortunately, we will almost certainly have to settle for a juice box.
Happy Mother’s Day (UK)