I want your mother-in-law to be my new mom!
Our friend, Jill, wrote this to me in an email as we were making plans to … go to yoga. She had recently gone out with my mother-in-law (Susan) and Jonathan while I was … at yoga.
The day was gorgeous, after two days of dreary skies, the rain had lifted. I got my hair done, which is always a bright day for any woman. There is nothing better than having someone else blow dry your hair.
There are angels that come into your life carrying a blow dryer and really good color skills, too. Tracy is mine.
I thought a lot about MY new mom and my new family as I went to the mat with Ellen for Yin Yoga. I needed a more passive class and after 24 days of vinyasa flow in a row; I had more than earned it. I loved the class. Holding poses for long periods of time using lots of props allows your muscles to marinate and begin to really let go from a much deeper place.
I knew Susan over the phone long before I met Jonathan. When I worked at Celebrity Connection she was John Ritter’s right hand and we were always booking him for TV Land and Nick @ Nite. For more than 20 years, everything concerning John went through Susan. Barry and I always loved it when we had to call her. Before you ever work with a celebrity, the attitudes of the people they surround themselves with and how those people treat you is often a precursor to the actor themselves. John Ritter was as wonderful to work with and as nice as you would expect him to be from talking to Susan and seeing him on television. When he left the world on September 11, 2003 it suddenly gave an already horrible day a new coat of sadness to wear. A much more personal one for my future family.
Did I ever think for one second Susan would become my mother-in-law? Not until 2005, as we rang in the new year in Vienna, did I actually begin to believe this was inevitable. Of course, Jonathan being a Libra, I had no idea when it would actually happen.
In looking at the calendar, it appears our little embryos will be Libras if they decide to stick. I will be surrounded for the rest of my life by people who cannot make decisions –always weighing all the options. Some of the people I love most in the world are Libras, so I consider this a good sign, actually.
Libras are a nice balance to me — the most impulsive decision maker ever.
Leos want it and we want it yesterday.
I met my future mother-in-law face to face for the first time at The Pantry in downtown Los Angeles before attending a Kings game. We had box tickets courtesy of Viacom. At the time, I was already very much in love with Jonathan, but still had no idea — as I sit typing this exactly ten years later in January 2013 — where this would all end up.
I have to admit now, I was certain in 2007 after my bridal shower I might be in for a rocky road. I was already convinced that all moms secretly despised the women who married their sons. I got this idea from Memom, who seemed to have a strong dislike for the marriage partners of all of her children — until AFTER they were divorced from them.
Then she had them over for dinner, or let them cook dinner for her.
There’s a saying in the south, “When Mama ain’t happy; ain’t nobody happy.”
On my step-mom’s (Sandy) last visit with Memom, she looked Sandy right in the eye and said, “You were nice this time.”
Sandy had been married to my father for more than 25 years at that point. It took more than 25 years to get that breadcrumb.
So you can see how mother-in-laws in general might scare the living daylights out of me? I was always grateful she was my Memom and not my mother-in-law because that mama was rarely satisfied, much less happy. And yet, I still miss her every day.
As in-laws go, I am incredibly blessed. Susan and my father-in-law, Jim, have always treated me like a daughter and made me feel like their home was mine. Jim and I have always had our own sort of bond. He’s an only child. Whenever I find out someone is an only child, I have their number on many levels before they even open their mouth. He was born in Lamar, Oklahoma — he has lived in California for almost all of his life, but deep down The Okie abides.
My bridal shower was held in California at my friend Shannon’s house. My Mom, Sandy and Sherry all flew in, Connie came from Huntington Beach and did all of the cooking. I had all of these women who had been huge influences in my life since I was 10 years old, plus my mother.
I was surrounded by mothers on all sides. Heck, you could even throw Shannon’s mother, Peg, into the middle of that as well!
As I am opening gifts, I open the card from Susan and she signed it — Love, your Third Mom. I knew who my first mom was, I knew who my second mom was … but my Third Mom?!? I felt like I was on Jeopardy. I guessed it was Sherry and Connie before I thought about Susan. I guess OUT LOUD in front of everyone. Talk about wanting to crawl under a rock. I had my entire village standing in the room. I forgot about my newest member.
Luckily, she never held it over my head.
With each passing day of 60 Days On the Mat, I wrote many memories about my family. My roots. My genes. In analyzing it now, I think my psyche was trying to collect all of the pieces of me in one place. It was my way of gathering them. I don’t ever want our child(ren) to feel like there is a piece of them missing because they are not genetically linked to me. The person who had to believe this first was me. Egg and sperm donors are exactly what the word says — DONORS — they are not mothers; fathers; parents. We are. I am. I grow them. I mother them. We love them.
The pieces of me are the pieces of them. There is no difference. I BELIEVE.
Today I stand firmly on the ground with that belief rooted in my soul. In November when this all started, I was still wavering at the edge of the cliff. Yoga and this blog held my ankles and helped me find the ground. I am grateful for the journey. I had no idea where it was going, but it went exactly where my heart needed it to.
After ten years together and five and 1/2 years of marriage — I have more pieces to me now than I ever have. And with each passing day my love for all of them grows stronger.
Susan is a wonderful mother-in-law. Like any situation, it took me awhile to find my familiars. To really feel like their home was my home, too. I could not ask for a better “Third Mom” — and she is so much more than that. I love her like a mom. She is responsible for raising the greatest gift in my life. She has always gone out of her way to make me feel like her daughter and not just some crazy Texan her son married. I love the time we get to spend alone going to the theater, it’s one thing we share that we often do without the boys.
She gives me insight into Jonathan I could never get anywhere else. She has made me a better wife and for that I am grateful on a daily basis.
Plus anyone who makes you a five bowl red velvet cake from scratch has to love you. To date that is one of the most memorable things she has ever done for me — on my 40th Birthday. No one had ever made me a red velvet cake from scratch, and she had never made one at all until she found out it was my favorite cake. She out did herself.
I ate it for three meals a day until it was gone.
All of Jonathan’s family — his Aunt Sharie and Uncle Steve and all of his cousins — they have all welcomed me with open arms from the day I met them. I love them all as if they were my own, and they are.
I hit the jackpot all the way around where family is concerned.
Have you ever found yourself singing a song, but never realized what exactly you were singing about?
As I was driving home from yoga looking at the beautiful, clear skies on the 101 freeway I found myself singing …
Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain
I love this song by Gary Allan, but I had never really paid attention to the lyrics until that moment. I was just blindly singing them.
After realizing what it was saying, I came home and played it on a loop (that and Darius Rucker’s new song, Wagon Wheel) until I knew all of the lyrics by heart. At Jonathan’s request (he is a simple eater), I found myself once again making broccolini quinoa pasta (see I really never eat Taco Bell … I actually prefer Freebirds) and dancing around the kitchen.
As I was singing along with Gary, I truly felt for the first time like my storm clouds had lifted.
Perhaps there will be a new storm coming from the east — but this one, this never-ending storm — had finally, completely run out of rain.
Tomorrow is the big day for the little eggs! I can barely sleep.