Am I a Mother-in-Love?

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25 Apr 2018
I think about that role a lot
I have an inborn need to connect to people
I want very badly to be a successful mother to our beautiful children
raising them to be passionate, contributing, giving and happy people.
After the death of my first child all I wanted was life
I wanted children so much that it hurt
Anyone who has endured loss knows what grief feels like
Anyone who has struggled with infertility knows what yearning feels like.
Having lost a child and having struggled with infertility the blessing of children was and is very sweet
yet/and children grow up and become their own people.
We encourage them to be independent free thinkers
We share our values
We love freely and unconditionally
We want the best for them
We take the role of responsibility very seriously
We struggle to withdraw ourselves to allow them to thrive and
when they do we feel successful
we feel happy
we feel fulfilled
We pray that our children will be loved and find meaning in their lives and their relationships
We let them go and hopefully
we walk with them down the aisle,
dancing down to the chuppah, which represents their new home.
The cleaving of our child to another is a loss and a gain
On one level we lose them,
we move them forward into the future with another by their side
My inborn instinct is to continue to mother my child yet after marriage they are intimately connected to another and that is and should be their primary relationship
My role as their mother is less defined
It seemed so easy when they were little and needed us for everything
We cuddled and took care of everything.,
held them when they cried and kissed their bonked heads
With age we became more of the ‘director’
guiding and helping
Then they truly become independent and make their own thoughtful decisions
we can’t protect them any more
we don’t really know what their inner life is
we can’t solve all their problems
we can’t make the struggles of life go away
we also can’t ignore that sometimes life is hard
The best we can do is get in the trenches and hold them
there is much comfort in being present and available and continuing to unconditionally love in the face of not being able to ‘fix’ the problems
When our child gets married our role is to support their new relationship
to affirm their choice
to love the new child
to leave space
to m’tzamtzem ( tzimtzum)- withdraw to make space for another
to give
to love
to trust them
to be silent
Silence existed before the world was created- before words,
maybe in that place of silence we can hear the voice of others.
The goal is connection and relationship
Our in-law child is new and has come from a different family dynamic and yet
more than anything we all want acceptance and love
It cuts both ways
When my mother died shortly after the death of our child I didn’t want a replacement mother
My mother-in-law is generous and loving,
she is affirming and praising yet
I was so bereft of my own mother that her love fell on deaf ears
I wanted my mother
I wanted her so badly
I wanted her to praise me, tell me I was great and that my children were great,
that she loved what I was becoming and who I was
yet she was gone
fading into memory
my life lay before me without her.
I resisted being sad
I had grieved my child which was completely and totally exhausting
the last thing I wanted was more grief
I wanted joy and life and laughter and sun
Ones family is like a cluster of grapes- all bunched on one stem going through life together
let’s seize the moments
let’s live life fully
let’s not sweat the small stuff
let’s focus on what’s important
let go
sing and
silently let it flow
May Gd shower us with the strength to create the relationships that we want with each other,
ones that are loving, affirming, respectful, kind and positive

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.