Like many daughters-in-law, Tina Plantamura resented it whenever her kids’ grandmother overindulged them, saying, in an open letter, “You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted,” as grandmas do.
She says she feared her mother-in-law would turn her children into “selfish brats” for giving in to “a second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck,“ as she tried to stand her ground, all the while struggling to “…show you respect and appreciation”. In the end, she gives up, realizing it was all futile. “How could I possibly compete with you?”
Until there was no more mother-in-law to compete with. Grandma was gone.
Painfully, she says, “[My boys] were not ready to say goodbye to you.”
In retrospect, she admits, “I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity. My kids, now in their teens, miss you dearly. And they don't miss your gifts or your money. They miss you.
“If I could speak to you one more time, I would tell you that every time a precious moment steals my heart, every time I watch them arrive at a new milestone, and every time they amaze me with their perseverance, talents or triumphs, I think of you. And I wish that they could have you back.
“Your love is a big part of who they are and what they will become as they grow. For every treat and gift, and every time you held them too long or consoled them too much, or let them stay up too late, I will always thank you.
"And I will wish a million times that you could do it all again.”
Read the full blog entry entitled "To my mother-in-law: I was wrong, and it's too late" here.