My husband was born and raised in Greece. He came from an extremely sports oriented family who also enjoyed eating with gusto, fun loving company and relaxing as a deliberate activity. His mother is a warm, welcoming "food is love" person. I was born and raised in the US by Dutch parents. Our family focus centered more on music, nature, travel and school studies.
I read an article about how people's spouses are often like their parents. I smugly thought . . not always. . gazing at a picture of my husband and I. I thought of all the ways my mother-in-law – whom I adore and admire - - are different. She was a very young mom; I became one much later. She stayed at home; I have always been a working mom. She loves to be the domestic goddess, I prefer to dabble in the culinary arts and have someone else take care of the house. She is Greek; I am American. She came from a less liberated era; the times I live in give me infinitely more choices.
I thought I would ask my husband. Essentially, I was looking for him to validate my view. I am not sure why I cared . . I think being unique or different somehow in my mind had translated to good.
His answer surprised me. He said, “Yes, I think you are a whole lot like my mother. It’s one of the reasons I love you.” Are you kidding me???? I only thought this as I ran through the list of differences again in my head and wondered what on earth he could be thinking.
Instead, I asked in a neutral tone (I hoped). “Really, what do you see as the similarities?” His follow up reply surprised me too. He said, “Family is number one for you. You are a wonderful mother to our kids, you like to take care of people, and you are lots of fun to be with.” Wow – now I was humbled.
I realized he was right . . and I was wrong (okay that always hurts to say even if it is just in my head). The differences I focused on were not the important things. What he had pointed to were the essence of a person. I loved he thought I was like his mother in those ways.
She has an amazing relationship with her son, which I hope I can have with my kids as adults. I think I also wanted, in some way, to separate my relationship with my husband from the one she and he share. But now I see the beauty in the connection and continuity. And I wonder if my kids' spouses will resemble my husband and I. The whole family is pictured celebrating my mother in law's name day in Greece.