My mother-in-law is going home to Europe after an extended stay, and I am going to really miss her. Since we’ve been living in COVID-world, life has been much less social, and having this very nice person around — even when we don’t speak the same language — just made life more pleasant.
She and my wife were always laughing, and I mean always. They would both applaud whenever I played guitar, they cooked up a storm together (I feasted on their cooking), and the two of them saw more of Southern California than I have in my entire life here. They had a great time, and I am so glad, because this has been a busy year for me, and my wife had someone to play with.
Momma was never ever in a bad mood. Every morning I would be at my computer when she would come in to make coffee. Doing this was about a 30-minute process, so we had some solid time to hang out. Then my wife would come down, and the two of them would go outside for their breakfast while I got to work.
I never had a loving mother, and to see that kind of love in action reminds me of what I missed. The old wound still hurts, but I see Momma’s arrival in my life as an opportunity to heal. I now have a loving mother in my life too. I love her, and she does truly love me.
Now that she’s back in Europe, I wish I’d spent less time at work and more time with her. When we were together, Momma got most of my jokes. My wife sometimes needed to translate, but we were able to communicate pretty well in our own way. Human kindness needs no words.
And just listening to the two of them fill the house with laughter made everything nicer.
That kind of energy is healing and infectious, and there was a definite energy shift when Momma left. My wife went out that day, and I joined her, so she wouldn’t feel lonely, but we both miss Momma. Through this experience, my wife and I are even closer, because we share love for and from this other person. That is what a family is really about.
These days, I spend more time on family video calls with Momma and have an extra ember of warmth in my heart because I know my family loves me for just being me. The next time Momma comes, I am going to take a month off and hang out more with the girls.
Being able to soak up some extra love after the most difficult years of our lives was a godsend. This pandemic has taught us the great value of love and family.
Please give and receive an extra hug from your family members, and if you don’t have anyone to be with, remember I was there not that long ago, so it isn’t too late to make it happen.Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D, is an award-winning therapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of seven books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 27 million readers. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Sundays and Wednesdays in the News-Press.