Basically, I have been pretty happy with how things have turned out in my life, but this experience as a soon to be mother in law has really opened my eyes and filled me with the greatest feelings of regret.
Regret because I realized that I was a bad daughter in law. Not a horrible, nasty, zilla type of daughter in law... Just a thoughtless, ungrateful one which is guess, is just as bad.
Trudy Miller was a war bride brought over from Germany, she was a kind, warm, friendly, wonderful woman. She gave her son Steve her personality and all her characteristics. Steve was not like his father, sister, and brother who were head strong, arrogant, selfish and critical and for that he was always put down and called "A German", but Trudy defended her son, She enjoyed him, she treasured him and I think all in all, Trudy knew Steve would be the one to prevail and have a good blessed life.
My Mother had a really bad relationship with her mother in law, she often talked of how judgemental she was about everything from her Hispanic heritage to her homemaking abilities, so it was logical that my mother would not instruct me on how to be a good daughter in law, she tried and had that door slammed in her face and did not want that for her daughter.
When it was my turn to be a bride I basically had no need for Trudy. I had a Mom to do all the wedding plans with, a sister , girlfriends and cousins to do all the bachelorette things with and Aunts to help with all the wedding details. There was a place for all the women in my life... Except for Trudy.
Trudy's role for my wedding was to roll up little papers and slide them into rings and tie almonds into little tulle packages. She did an excellent job and had her task done well ahead of time, I know I did say "thanks"
She struggled with finding a dress for the wedding, but it never occurred to me offer to go dress shopping with her. I never thought of even trying to do a thing to bond with this woman. Never did we go to lunch, shopping or to the movies. Not even once.
I know it sounds like I am being hard on myself, I was young and immature and I should give myself a break, but I realize now that I am going to be a mother in law that I was the one who blew it. I came from a generation of mother in law haters and although I never ever hated Trudy, I never gave her a thought and that was MY fault.
I do know that If we had developed a friendship it would have caused friction between Steve's sister and I and maybe that is why she never suggested it, but I should have been bold and I should have become her friend. I remember as I was lying in bed with her when she was dying of Cancer reading her favorite Star magazine and holding her for the last time she said to me "I really didn't think you and Steve would make it, but now I am glad you married my son"
Sometimes I wish my 21 year old self could have had some of my 45 year old wisdom.
For the first time in my life, I wish I could turn back time.
Just to spend it with Trudy.
3 weeks ago