C.C. calls me this as we drive back from the coast.
Mother-in-law. That’s who you are now, he says as we follow the ribbon of highway leading us back towards home on the other side of the Rockies.
We have just spent two weeks away. Wedding prep. Alexis and Jame’s wedding and then a week of relaxation at Tofino with Beaumont, The Wave Hound.
I hadn’t thought about the fact I’d be carrying a new label after the wedding.
I roll the word around on my tongue. Savour it. Taste it. It has the heady essence of a piece of St. Agur sliding across my tongue. Sharp. Tangy. Deliciously smooth. Earthy. I like it. I like how it feels. How it sounds. How it rolls around in my mind stretching who I know myself to be to include a new way of being.
I have a son-in-law, or as I like to think of him, ‘son-in-love’.
He is the husband to my daughter. The man to whom, at the edge of a cliff over-looking the ocean beyond and under a blue sky through which an eagle soared lazily in the late afternoon sun, she pledged unwavering love forever more.
I have a married daughter.
It is a new place; this mother of a married daughter. A new way of seeing my daughter and her world. And me.
I remember when she was growing up, how she loved to play ‘bride’ and organize make-believe weddings, and re-enactments of The Titanic. She created fabulous outfits, had favourite parts to play and favourite roles for those around her to fulfill.
There was never a role called ‘mother-in-law.’
I’ve had no practice and am surprised at how this role requires a mental shift, a lengthening out of my vision to include a larger perspective. It speaks to deepening of family. Of roots. Of possibilities and connections. Of sharing Christmases and special occasions. A deepening of love.
I have thought about what it means to know my daughter is married. To know she has someone to whom she will turn first and always. It has felt good to know she would have him by her side. Steadfast and true. He is kind. Generous. Quirkily funny and very very smart.
I like who he is but I hadn’t thought about what it means to be his mother-in-law. To have him as my ‘son-in-love’.
Somehow, I had thought nothing would change. That life would continue just as it was without any adjustments.
And it does. And it doesn’t. It is all as it is and as it is is wonderful and different and yet beautifully the same.
My eldest daughter got married on September 10th.
It was beautiful.
She left nothing to chance. Thought of every little detail and was prepared for every eventuality. And in all her preparations, she managed to leave room for the whimsical, the mystical, the magic.
It was divine. A day of love flowing freely on warm ocean breezes. Of family and friends laughing in the sunlight and dancing under the stars. It was a perfect beginning to their life lived as husband and wife.
(As I did not have my camera/iphone with me on the ‘big day’, these photos are all from friends — thank you CJ and Tamz and everyone else who shared them on FB. And if you’re ever looking for a magical island wedding resort – Bodega Ridge is stunning. The staff are incredible, the location amazing and the facilities and food divine)