I have known my mother-in-law for over 20 years and in all that time she has been unfailingly consistent in one very simple but profoundly fundamental thing…she is always pleased to see me, no, more than that, she has always been delighted to see me. Whatever she is doing when we arrive, whatever is going on in her life she has always taken the time and made the effort to stop and greet me with a great big “HELLO LOVE!” hug.
Over the years this small ritual has become an anchor for me, a beacon of warmth and has done more for me than she might realise.
When we were teenagers (no, I wasn’t married to Mike back then), this greeting said “I accept you”. As I grew older and visited my now-husband, gate crashing Cairns family dinners it said “there is a place for you here”. To feel welcome, to feel important enough for someone to give you their time and attention, to feel loved can provide a sense of ‘place’ in the world that is beyond value.
So as it’s mothers day and my own dear mum is no longer with us, this post is tribute to all the mothers-in-law out there and especially you Wendy!
Whether we see them every day or meet them just once in a lifetime, the way we greet those we meet really does shape lives. That brief moment can have a deeper and more lasting impact than we may first appreciate. In that moment there is power, and if we are considerate enough and conscious enough, that power can be used to enrich and bring light, to acknowledge and enhance worth to build a deep and trusted connection.
As our children get older, or on busy days we may miss these moments in the hurry to get things done and if we are not careful it can erode fragile self esteem and family bonds.
It occurs to me then that each time we greet our children is an opportunity to make them feel cherished.
So here’s my recipe for a warm hearted welcome a-la Wendy:
- Put down the paper, step away from the sink and pause
- Take one beaming smile that reaches your eyes
- Add a warm “Hello!” with a liberal pinch of excitement and wonder
- Stir in the sweet syrup of sincerity
- Wrap it all up in a warm hug that lasts
- Repeat as often as possible