Saturday, February 2, 2008


My in laws were both raised back east. They met as teenagers. My father in law converted my mother in law to the LDS church, and they came out here to get married and attend BYU. They never left. They were typical starving college students, and my MIL primarily communicated with her parents by letter. She tried to tell them as much about her children as possible so her parents would feel connected with their grandchildren.

Unbeknownst to her, her mother, "Jet" (her name was Jeanette, but she went by Jet) was saving all of her letters. Two months before K was born, Jet died of cancer. She'd fought breast cancer on and off for years, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but it was still a very sad loss for all of us. I really loved Jet, and she was almost as excited about the arrival of K as I was. (as a side note, Z's middle name is Jett in honor of her. He was due on her birthday)

After she died, my MIL's father presented her with all of the letters she'd written home. It was truly a priceless gift, and she was so excited to get them. She spent quite a long time compiling them, putting them in order, and typing them into the computer. For Christmas a few years ago, she had them bound into books and gave a copy to each child.

I suspect I am the only one who has really read the book of letters, and I've read it a couple times. I have gotten such a kick out of hearing about my husband as a child. When he was a toddler, he'd want to sleep with his parents, and he'd sleep sideways, kicking MIL all night. That sure rang a bell!! I'll admit when I initially got the book, I was really hurt by some of the things MIL said about me. She wasn't that crazy about me in the beginning, and didn't truly warm up to me until K was born. She liked me ok, but didn't *really* like me, you know? Giving her a grandchild changed our relationship for the better, and I really love her now, and am sure the feeling is mutual. Part of me felt like she should have edited the later letters where she talks about her future children in law. I'm still not sure that wasn't something to consider. I really did get off easy though. If I thought she slammed me, it was nothing in comparison to the other spouses!

In general though, it is such a great book. I've been reading it again, and really, truly enjoyed it. She talks about fairly mundane stuff, but it's really fascinating to me. I think I am going to try and post more mundane details of my life because I think I'll find it really interesting 20 years from now. My children may too. Of course, they may be a little shocked at what a lax mother I was. Some of the decisions my MIL made would be the sort of thing I would "flame" someone for now. (spanking a barely two year old for potty accidents, not using sunscreen, giving a 6 week old baby applesauce, etc) But, what she did was the acceptable, right thing for the time. Besides, her children obviously turned out fine, so I probably ought to unclench a little.


Katie said...

What a priceless gift! I'm sure your children will absolutely treasure that when they are older!

Chardell said...

That is so cool! I would love to get a book like that. I hope to add some mundane things for future generations to enjoy. Thanks for sharing that!