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My husband's stepdad, Red, had a pretty serious car accident a few weeks ago and so my mother-in-law has had lots on her plate since that day. After a few days in the hospital in their town he was moved to a hospital 90 miles away. She spent her days going back and forth, although sometimes getting a hotel room to avoid making the drive daily. Eventually he was moved to a rehabilitation hospital only 30 miles from their home, allowing her more of a schedule and less time in the car.

They live 700 miles away; hence lending support hasn't been easy. My sister-in-law, who lives 175 miles away from her mom, has been amazing — supporting her mom by being there as much as possible and feeding us updates. We were trying to figure out how, and when, to go and offer our help to his mom. Kevin was talking to his mom last week and she suggested him coming once Red actually comes home from the hospital. That made sense to all of us.

To have an idea of generally available flights and costs, Kevin began looking at flights, rental cars, as well as the potential duration of his visit, and what he came up with was that he would be there a week. And so my heart was revealed ... I thought to myself, a whole week? Here are a few things that give a peek into my perspective; Kevin travels almost weekly for his job, so we already lose him a lot. And a week of vacation, without us, made me jump into a scarcity of vacation time mindset. I'm just being honest.  I felt a little frustrated, a little cheated. I also felt a little embarrassed that I was feeling those things.

I was embassassed because the truth is, I really, really love my mother-in-law. She has been a wonderful example to me, generous in her love to me, and never demanding of anything ... ever. She released her son to me when he became my husband, and now she really could use him — his presence, his support and quite frankly, she is likely to need his physical help with some things. Suddenly I was quite aware that as much as Kevin is my husband, he is still her son. She birthed him, loved him, taught him and raised him such that being with her is where he wants to be due to this circumstance.

Someday I will have a grown son with his own family, possibly living miles and miles away from me. And it was in an instant that my heart changed and I released my husband in my heart to go to his mother with great blessing. Go to your mom, stay the week, drink coffee with her, eat dinner, shovel her snow.

I look at my 18-year-old son, who is already the size of a man, and I think of him married, and I consider the woman who will be his wife someday. My hope is that if he feels the need to come to me someday for some circumstance, I hope she will release him with blessing, not with complaint; so that is what I will do. With the change of heart I have experienced, I am now eager to release my husband and give my mother-in-law back the gift of her son — to bless her as she released him to bless me.

3 Comments

Best wishes to your in-laws! It's tough being so far away when trouble strikes! Prayers going up for a speedy recovery!

Thanks, Bonnie. It is difficult, and I belive many of us find ourselves in this type of situation at some point.

I know it is hard but you made the right decision, Sheri. My mother-in-law lived right here in Fort Wayne and it sometimes annoyed me when she seemed to need her son on a weekly basis. However, as you said, she gave her son to me; the least I could do was give him back occasionally.