Kyle and I celebrate 9 years of marriage today. That’s nine years of memories, nine years of love and nine years of me begging his mom for one special item. Several items, actually. His mom and I are similar when it comes to stuff. Not just any stuff – but the things that hold special memories, the items that can’t be found on a store shelf. We both like that stuff; especially if it has been made by my husband who also happens to be her youngest son.
What is it about the love of a mother and her youngest boy? I know all mothers love their kids, but I see something different between a mom and her boy. I joke with my sisters who both have boys as their youngest.
“You want them to live with you forever, don’t you?” I ask – only half kidding.
They answer with a no – only half kidding. I’m already planning the prep talks I’ll have to give my nephew’s wife when her mother in law is driving her crazy.
I’ll never have a brother and most likely will never have a son, but I do understand where their hearts lie. Sort of. Boys grow up and leave – but girls come back. At least that’s what I tell myself to feel better about the day when my girls grow up and leave me.
But back to the stuff.
Each year growing up I received a new Christmas ornament. It’s a tradition mom and dad started for all of the kids. By the time I got married I had a fairly large collection of ornaments for my own tree. I kept them all; the cat with one eye, the rocking horse, the handprints and more. I started the same tradition for my girls. Slowly, our tree is filling up with memories. But there are plenty of blank spots that could easily be filled if I just had a few more ornaments.
This is where the begging comes in. Each year I ask my mother-in-law for Kyle’s childhood ornaments and each year I get shut down. It’s usually a simple no and I’ve learned it’s best to leave it at that.
This year was no exception – until Christmas day. The last gift under the tree was marked for me and Kyle. Inside its green and gold packing were two ornaments. One made of glue and thread – another with a tiny picture of Kyle – taken when he was 5 – placed in the middle of a gingerbread man. These were the ornaments his mom had been keeping for years.
She cried. “That was so hard for me to give to you, Leslie.”
I think we all knew that. And then she added, “please take care of it.”
She said that twice. In her defense, she’s seen my housekeeping skills and witnessed me lose my cell phone – twice, within the same hour a few days prior.
But that doesn’t happen with the stuff that matters; the stuff that can’t be found on a store shelf.
“I will take very good care of it,” I assured her.
It’s the second best gift she has ever given me. The best? That came years ago – on the day I met her son, in that conference room, through those HuskerVision doors at the University of Nebraska. She raised a man full of love and kindness and I was lucky enough to find him. I have thanked her every day for the past 9 years. I will thank her for the rest of my life.
Our anniversary gift to each other! We moved in yesterday!