An Open Letter to My New Daughter-in-Law

By | October 27, 2013

Dear Lara,

One of your long-time family friends said the kindest thing about you and your family at the rehearsal dinner. This is pretty much a quote, “I have not known Daniel long at all, but I have known this family for a very long time. I am here to tell you, that as families go, he has hit the jackpot marrying into this bunch.”

To which I replied without missing a beat, “Well, that is awesome for him, but I am afraid that we are all quite dysfunctional.”

What else could I say? With so many ex this and that in the room, not to mention those who refused to come, then throw my crazy friends in there, I should have provided your side of the family with a flow chart to keep it all straight.

Your friend and I had a good laugh about it because it was a joyous time and, well there was just no room for negativity during that weekend. The song that Daniel used to sing all the time as he rode in his car seat in that burgundy Dodge Caravan “This Little Light of Mine” springs to mind. There was no bushel basket, or devil, or six days of pouring rain, or anything that could blow out the little light that showed up to shine throughout your wedding weekend.

Owning up is very different from negativity. When something is what it is….then it just is and I’m too old for pretense.

So, I am here to say, “Welcome to the Family!!!”

Now that you are one of us, I am here to provide you with a list of my newly made up self-imposed mother-in-law rules.

  1. I will always love you both.
  2. I am really looking forward to babysitting someday. The two of you can go away for months at the time and we’ll be just fine. Just give me a little notice.
  3. You have my permission to whack my son upside the head if he needs it. Figuratively speaking, of course, because we don’t need anyone in the family in jail. Let me know if you need backup. No matter how wonderful he is right now, there will be a day when you want to whack him and that is a perfectly reasonable emotion.
  4. Even though it does not come naturally, I will try not to meddle. Well, that’s not true. I probably will try to meddle. But, let’s make a deal. If I am meddling, you can say, “Stop meddling” and then we can laugh about it. I want you to practice right now, saying it out loud, so you can hear yourself. “Stop Meddling!” Now laugh. There, see, it wasn’t that hard. Only then, will I know what you actually mean. If you do the opposite of my meddling advice, I will not understand that you were trying to give me a sign.
  5. Please feel free to give me a whack upside the head if I need it. My son better back you up, or then you will have two people to whack and that usually doesn’t go well.
  6. I will really try….and this one will be hard, not to guilt trip you both for stuff. You know what I mean. “You’re only coming for one night?” with all kinds of guilt laden inflections heard in my tone. I’ll try to hold it down, at least the inflections.
  7. I will only try once to get you to take the things I want you to have, but you don’t want. That old piece of my grandmother’s furniture that you really don’t want, just say the word and I won’t insist that you take it.
  8. I will try not to judge, period. As if……Ha! Ha!
  9. I will love your family, since Daniel has, in fact, hit the jackpot.
  10. I will always love you both!

You new Mother-in-Law,







4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My New Daughter-in-Law

  1. Kathy Weaver


    As I prepare to embark on my own road to being a mother-in-law, I am so glad to have the opportunity to read your blog. I will definitely keep your thoughts and promises in mind as I begin this new trail. Great job!

  2. Bonnie

    Rhonda – I quite remember this conversation, but I also remember saying that all of us, individuals and families alike, are at least some bit dysfunctional. That’s why we need our Higher Power, and each other (and laughter, definitely laughter – and you are quite good in that area)! That said, your letter is beautiful, in both content and form and, I think, proves you are far less dysfunctional than most of us. Lara has quite obviously lucked out as well. Blessings!

    1. Rhonda Post author

      Yes, Bonnie, I knew you would remember the conversation! I am so glad your family was there. Thanks for your kind words!!!


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