My mother-in-law passed away in March. She was strong. A fighter, right up to the end of her ninety-two years. She lived her life with just the right balance of grace and gusto, and when it came time for her to leave us, she did it her way. Frank Sinatra’s got nothing on Nancy.
We called her Nano and when I first met her, I was eighteen years old. I had just graduated from high school, and I’d met this boy at a Commodores concert. We liked each other enough that he thought I should meet his parents. I’d never been invited to meet a boy’s parents.
Only now, with my own grown-up son and daughter, do I realize what a big deal that was.
About a month after Nano died, my son brought his girlfriend home from New York to meet his dad and me. She is the first girl our son has ever brought home. To say I was a nervous wreck would be a gross understatement. Should I hug her, or just shake her hand? Would there be long, awkward silences? Where would she sleep? What would she eat? Would I say too many embarrassing things? Would I talk too much, or not enough? Would I like her? Would she like me? And all of that anxiety was wearing me out before the two even arrived on our doorstep!
When our son and his girlfriend did show up, what surprised me was just how hard it was for me. I had to come to terms with the fact that my son will one day settle down and build a family, and the woman he gives his heart to will be part of our family, ‘til death do us part.
It’s a big deal.