Defining Moments

Phyllis Inspiration 46 Comments

You can tell a lot by the eyes of those you love. There are so many moments that I recall with great vividness. The first time my grandson waved and yelled “I love you more” just melted my heart. My granddaughter thrilled me when she said “Gigi, I want to learn to sew.” There are so many others that I could write for days.

One moment in my life stands out vividly and it was one of those “defining moments.” My son Eric was engaged to Katie and it is the groom’s family’s privilege to host the rehearsal dinner. I saw this as my time to shine! Oh my goodness, I was so excited. We made our plans down to the last detail.

A friend of mine does the most beautiful invitations made of silk. You open them like a French door, the printed card is placed inside, and they are mailed in a silk box. To make it even better, she said we could sew a monogram on the silk before she assembled them.

When Katie and Eric were home, I unveiled the prototype and we were all excited. Did I mention the silk matched the bridesmaid’s dress? Really, how marvelous was this? So creative. My friend had “outdid herself,” as we say in the South.

A little time passed and Eric came into the den after everyone had gone to bed but me. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Mom, Katie doesn’t want the monograms on the invitation.”

I stared at him in total disbelief. What? How could this be? When I looked into his eyes, I realized that my reaction was going to set the tone for the rest of my life with Katie. He was in the awkward place of trying to please two women in his life: mom and future wife. As I looked into his beautiful blue eyes I said, “No monogram!”

He hugged me and said “Thanks Mom!” He knew at the moment that while my creative soul would have marveled at the monogram (as I would monogram everything if I could), it was more important that Katie know she is the woman in his life and that she has my unwavering love. He didn’t want to hurt my feelings because he knew how much I loved monograms and I knew that.

That’s how it is sometimes, isn’t it? We all really would like to have our own way regardless. But sometimes the price is too high. Decisions that we make and reactions to situations can and will determine the future of relationships. The mother and daughter-in-law relationship has always been the brunt of jokes and maybe its justified. A preacher summed it up beautifully when he was preaching on this very subject: “You have a situation where two women are in love with the same man.”

I kept asking Eric if he loved Katie more than me. He would roll his eyes and shake his head. “I love you in a different way Mom, you know….” I kept asking him this questions everyday right up to the wedding day. I asked him the same question the morning of his wedding and he responded “Yes, Mom, I do.” I looked at him in his eyes and said “you are ready to get married!”

Are you open to compromise?

Comments 46

  1. I am going to forward this to my daughter. She has my grandson and we talk all the time about being the in law to his wife. We hope we have several years before that happen. It is so different being the mother of a son.

  2. Your story hit home with me. So many times we need to compromise when we think “our way” is the right way but in reality it doesn’t matter who’s right. It only matters that we love each other.

  3. I have had to compromise way too many times in my life. It seems it was never appreciated and now I will not compromise any more. Except for maybe my grandchildren.

  4. I am thankful that my husband did not meet my parents until six months after our wedding. And similarly that is around the time I met his parents. Luckily the two sets of parents never met each other, and neither have any of the brothers sisters and so forth. I am grateful that my children have chosen not to marry their partners in any ceremony whatsoever. You know when you feel married and it is nobody else’s business.
    Many wedding ceremonies become a ridiculous display distasteful ostentation. Using monetary wealth to impress others is an unwise method of gaining respect in my opinion.

  5. What a wonderful story. As the mother of a seventeen year old boy, I know that one day I will be in the same position. I only hope I can be as loving and graceful as you were. You are such an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  6. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story. I have had to compromise how I react to things in this life. I needed this today. Thanks again

  7. Compromise ~ valuing the relationship more than having one’s own way in a particular situation. The Golden Rule?

    An insightful and inspirational story!! It should be required reading for all current and future MILs.

    God Bless Each of You!!

    {BTW: You can monogram something for me anytime!!}

  8. I will join the many who have commented before me to say I love this story, Phyllis. It is a little wrangling “up front” when our children marry and we are no longer their #1, but it is right. You are a mother-in-love any girl would be happy to have.

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      3. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who truly knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know the right way to convey an issue to light and make it important. Extra individuals need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant consider youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

    1. I did too…what a special, insightful message, one I will carry with me as my son takes his wife next spring, thank you Phyllis for all of your nuggets of wisdom. Always a wise word in due season.

  9. Every mother should read your story, Phyllis!!! It’s so beautiful and it says it all!!! You truly are a remarkable woman and I’m so thankful to get your most heartwarming newsletters each week. Many, many thanks!!!

    1. You are too kind. I don’t know about Proverbs 31….but thank you. I always wanted my daughter-in law to know that I support her completely and love her like a daughter. Her mother loves my son like her own. Its exactly what I prayed for!

  10. Love today’s post! Like you, I have two grown sons. The oldest just married three weeks ago. I could not be happier with the amazing daughter in law that is now officially part of our family.

    Because of their post grad schooling, they had an almost three year engagement. The day he proposed I gave her a beautiful card and told her how I could not have hand picked someone more perfect to give his heart too.

  11. With all the myriad options we can choose for our weddings, it is hard to remember that 99% of them aren’t vital. And some women (like me) don’t want to be known by their husband’s name, as they don’t wish to lose part of their own identity. You certainly did the right thing, Phyllis! Katie will be so grateful to join your family.

  12. Oh Phyllis, I am blessed with two daughters by marriage and try so very hard not to make my sons feel they have to choose.; but sometimes it’s difficult. Your story was beautiful.

  13. Yes, I agree with each of you who commented, and Phyllis , you did the right thing and also thought before you spoke, and your answer, though extremely hard for you to say, obviously did make a huge difference, although for the life of me, why she did not want the monogram is beyond me. I do think that Katie did not realize what a gift you were giving she and your son by being willing to do all if the work of each monogram.

    Marla, you said something profound- that sometimes, even though those lifestyles are different, they must do the choosing, not us and be their own architects. I have had to learn to be very careful of what I say in that regard to my son and his wife and regarding our grandchild, even though some of their choices make no sense to my husband and I. They are not bad decisions, just very different.
    Phyllis, you do so manage to write the most insightful blogs, that touch home with so many of your readers. Our hearts must all be in the same places!

    1. The rule for a couple is this

      Brides first name initial on the left
      Last name in the center larger than the others.
      Groom’s first name initial on the right

  14. As every mom with sons ….or daughters ….know, they ALWAYS love us (and always have OUR love and support). But when they have a soulmate and children of their own, they understand what a deep and undying love is!!! And that is what we can only wish for them!!

    Congratulations on raising a son that understood and felt comfortable with that.

    God bless you and your sweet family!!

    (Ps…. I love monogramming too and would monogram everything too if I could !)

    Thanks for again sharing another family story!

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  15. That is a perfect illustration of what love is. We love our “boy” and want them to find the perfect mate. Then sometimes we almost rebell because they do. 🙂 I love my daugher-in-law like a daughter. We can talk about most every thing.
    We also have to realize that his wife does come first now and that is Biblical!!! Thanks for the reminder.

  16. Beautiful story with a real life happy ending. It brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful fulfilling way to let go and yet make a true friend for life. What wisdom you displayed in that one defining moment. Thanks, Phyllis, for sharing.

  17. It really is a difficult thing sometimes, more so for the big things in life. Your ribbon is very timely for me right now as my only son, heads off on his own. He has accomplished so much already and we are extremely proud of him. But we still try to micromanage his life. It does cause friction and while we think our opinions are for his own good, what Marla said above is so important. I will try to remember and live by her words.

    1. You will shift from Mother to friend and that the best relationship. Its hard to let go, but in doing so we allow them to grow up. I read somewhere the two best things we give our kids is roots and wings. You will be fine. You are a great Mom!

  18. This is such a beautiful story and it’s wonderful instruction for me, the mother of a grown son who has yet to meet his “Katie.” You are a great example. Thank you for sharing.

  19. I have five sons and they are all grown now.
    I believe the greatest gift we give our grown children is to let them own their own life stories; letting them be the hero/heroine of their own adventures! Even if that means letting them make mistakes we could save them from, listening to their discoveries (even when it’s ‘old news’ to us) and letting them design their own families, relationships, and lifestyles. Sometimes those lifestyles are different than what we had envisioned for them, but to be truly supportive we must let them be the architects of their own plans.

    1. I love this! I have a 17 year old daughter who doesn’t always make the same choices I would make for her and I have to remember that this is HER journey, mistakes and all. It’s not always easy, but to keep the faith that everything WILL be okay!

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