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My MIL Told Me ‘You Can Never Be My Daughter’

04 May 2017

Maya woke up in the morning by 7.00 am. She looked at Mukund’s empty bed. He was already in the shower, getting ready for an early day. She could hear some sounds coming from the kitchen as the rest of the house slowly got ready for the day. She still had a few minutes before her day began. She decided to write that mail to her best friend. It was something she had wanted to do for a long time. Prachi stayed in the United States of America and Maya couldn’t talk to her as frequently as she would have liked.

She quickly used the bathroom and then went to her desk and opened her laptop.

***

Dear Prachi

Hope you are good. I am doing well too. It’s almost three months since my wedding now. Slowly I am getting used to the new routine with my new family. I was quite apprehensive initially, about staying with in-laws and all. And yes there was some friction, I won’t deny. But overall, things have been good. The surprise factor was actually my mother-in-law. I still call her aunty. This was something she insisted on. You know, she was one of the main reasons I said yes to this proposal.

Just after I got married, one day she and I had gone for dinner. The conversation we had that day was one of the most empowering ones that I ever had. She surprised me. Till then I always had a distinct feeling that she did not like me much. And I was always trying very hard to be on her good side. But clearly it wasn’t having much of an effect. I wanted to talk to Mukund about it, but then I decided to rather directly talk to her. That day I had decided to ask her if she had any problems with me.

Her answer surprised me.

"Of course I like you. You are smart, intelligent and a good woman. But I am just getting to know you. So I guess loving you will take some time. And you know, I will never be able to love you the way I love my daughter."

At first I was shell-shocked. I mean this woman was admitting that she will never be able to give her full love to me. I mean isn’t a mother in law supposed to be your second mother and all that?

Seeing my expression, she tried explaining it in a better way.

"Tell me honestly, will you be able to love me like your own mother?"

My entire societal conditioning screamed at me to say "Yes. Yes you are my second mother. And I will love and respect you just as much as my own mom."

But I paused. And that is when I appreciated her thought process. Here was a woman who was being upfront with me. No drama, no fake niceties. But pure practical reality. And that in itself is so rare. She was treating me like a human being first, rather than looking at me as a “bahu”. And I liked it.

"No. I don’t think I would be able to love you like I love my own mother," I said.

She smiled and we continued with our dinner.

I think we reached some sort of understanding that day. It was “our” relation that we were slowly developing. Not under any tag of saas-bahu/mother-daughter, but between two individual human beings. Things got much easier for me from that day onwards. I mean there are still some issues (I don’t understand why she refuses to eat leftovers that are just a day old!!). But none of them run deep. We both have set our expectations in each other’s minds. About what and how much to expect from the other.

I am truly glad she spoke directly about what was in her mind rather than give me fake assurances. That helped me be direct with her too. Something to learn and keep in mind for all relations, right?

Anyways, you tell me what is going on with you. Waiting for your mail.

Love

Maya 

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Tags: #MIL