Like many women, Tina Plantamura of Asbury Park, New Jersey, has many different thoughts regarding her mother-in-law.
As a mother herself to three young boys, Plantamura explained in an open letter shared on The Huffington Post about how this woman treated her children when they were younger.
Her words at the start of the letter seemed to be primarily built on resentment.
“I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn’t spoil my children,” Plantamura wrote. “I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats” by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed.”
Plantamura took issue with many things her mother-in-law would do.
“You held each one of my babies long after they fell asleep. Didn’t you understand that I needed them to learn to fall asleep on their own?” Plantamura continued. “You ran to them as soon as they made the tiniest sound. How would they ever learn to self-soothe?”
But then things took quite a bit of a turn.
“I spent a lot of time wondering why you did all these things and how I could get you to ease up,” Plantamura explained. “I know grandmothers are supposed to ‘spoil the kids,’ then send them home, but you were … ridiculous. Until you were gone.”
After Plantamura’s mother-in-law died suddenly, she began to reflect on all of the things she did and how much they meant to her children. She said breaking the news to her boys was very difficult.
“I had to hold my boys and tell them that their grandma died. It didn’t seem possible — you were supposed to be there for all the other special moments: proms, graduations, weddings,” Plantamura said. “But they lost their grandma too soon and too suddenly.”
“They were not ready to say goodbye to you.”
Plantamura’s children have since grown and become teenagers, but losing their grandmother was a blow that really affected them. She says they still very much miss her.
“It’s pointless to dwell on regrets, but I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity. My kids, now in their teens, miss you dearly. And they don’t miss your gifts or your money. They miss you.”
Plantamura expressed gratitude and regret: “I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity.”
“I understand now. I know you loved them in every way you could,” Plantamura went on to say. “I know that being their grandma gave you joy and purpose. And of course I know that you can’t come back, but I do know that your love for them will always remain.”
For Plantamura, it took losing her mother-in-law to recognize just how much she meant to her. While she at one point may have held resentment for the love she would shower on her children, now Plantamura recognizes that the woman was a figure that meant the world to them.
She just wished her mother-in-law could be back in their lives once more.