To My Mother-In-Law

Jessica of Four Plus an Angel is one of my favorite bloggers.

Her loss is as deep and wide as her strength is fierce and admirable and her words never fail to take my breath away.

I am so honored to have Jessica here today sharing a letter to her mother-in-law.

To my mother-in-law,

I wonder how common it is for women to feel the tug to write to their mother-in-law as I do. Our relationship is certainly not average and, although there are many things I wish were different between us, there are no limits to what I want to thank you for.

Your son rarely talks about his childhood. I never push but once in a while find memories to paint my own picture of the mom you were. Our similarities begin with steamy mugs of tea and getting lost in books and I wish I knew where they end.

As much as I live my life through the written word, I find myself at a loss in trying to explain my gratitude to you. I remember the first memory my husband shared of you, reaching for your wig after a fall, not wanting your children to see you in such a state.

Seeing your son in my sons allows me a glimpse of the childhood you watched unfold and I wonder if there is a time you knew. If there was a day you looked at your son and knew you would never see him graduate or you lifted your daughter and knew you would not choose her next Christmas dress. I wonder how you lived with such pain and yet left your son with only visions of your strength.

In so many ways I feel I know you, although we have never met. The respect for women you instilled in your son, the familiar red hair that streaks through my daughter’s curls and the amazing pieces of your nurturing my husband delivers carefully to our own children.

Navigating the intricacies of motherhood, I am in awe of the legacy you left behind. That the path you started for your son led him to me and to fatherhood and to unending patience and overflowing love. That the love you were able to pour into a fraction of your children’s lives has carried them to the point they are today.

I can only imagine the mother you must have been and the grandmother you are to my daughter, as she sits contently in arms that were empty for far too long.

Sending you so much love,

Your daughter-in-law

My favorite picture of my mother-in-law, visiting Santa at age 4.

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  1. says

    Not only is this memorable for the respect and love you show for your mother in law, but it rings so so true to me. I owe my mother in law everything for creating the greatest husband and father I could imagine. That gratitude is daunting, isn’t it?

  2. says

    So lovely. Your words and your mother-in-law. That picture of her is beautiful. The innocence and delightfulness within her shines. Just like how she shines through her son, your husband. Thank you for sharing your letter.

  3. says

    Jessica, this is so lovely it brought tears to my eyes. I also see your letter as an invitation to me to express my gratitude to the people in my life while I have the chance. Thank you for that. xo

    • says

      I have asked him to read it ten million times and he has yet to do it. He’s not a very emotional guy so I think he’s a little worried about reading it.

  4. says

    What a beautiful tribute your mother-in-law. And it also appears to me she did a wonderful job on that hubby of yours–clearly she left her mark in ways she may never have thought possible. Thank you for introducing us to her today. And I absolutely love that photograph. XOXO

  5. says

    Beautiful letter, Jessica. The picture at the end and your words about her make me want to know her more, to know her story more. I get a similar feeling as the one you describe here, the kind of longing to show gratitude for someone you’ve never met, when seeing old pictures or hearing stories of my deceased grandmother. (She died when my mom was 20 years old).

  6. says

    What a lucky man to have such amazing women in his life.

    First his mother, then you and finally his beautiful daughters.

    You’ve captured three generations of love, gratitude and respect in one lovely letter.

    This is nothing short of a gift, Jessica.
    In every sense of the word.

  7. Bethanygp says

    What a beautiful letter. I agree with @letterforlucas that you are one of my favorite bloggers, if not the favorite. The strength and character that comes out in your talented writing is inspiring.

  8. says

    This is so beautiful, Jessica. More than anyone else I read, there always comes a point in your posts when my throat catches and the tears well up and I let out an audible sob. You evoke such emotion in your words.

  9. says

    Oh Jessica, Oh my goodness..this is beyond perfect. I am just swimming in teary eyes and a full heart…you captured all those words and I’m so glad she got to hear them here from you. xo

  10. says

    What a beautiful tribute to what sounded like a pretty awesome woman.
    I’m sure she is watching all of her babes from above. Even though she wasn’t here physically to do all those things.

  11. Deanne Orlando says

    I love reading your writing, Jessica; it flows so simply, yet is so complex. It was nice to see you at the holiday party last night!

  12. Leah says

    This letter definitely had me teary-eyed! Ah! Life is just unfair and cruel sometimes. I am so sorry that you never got the chance to know this woman. She sounds like an incredibly kind and thoughtful mother.


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