Last evening as I was doing the dishes, this very abrupt thought crossed my mind, "What if I had a mother-in-law?" Yes, "a mother-in-law" because I never had the fortune to have one.
Life would have been different, not only for me but also for my husband and our family. I guess the most for my Husband who would have then enjoyed every happiness of having his mother around him; whose misfortune began the day his mother is said to have passed away when he was little over a year old. Then on, his maternal grandparents (may peace be with their souls) had taken great care of him to bring him up.
What he or we have now are few pictures of his late mother, two of which are standing tall on the walls, neatly framed and erected. Last month, during our ritual mass clean-up, KP took down the frames for dust-off. Just then, Lolo passed by and she remarked, "Mama, Lolo." Her innocence revolves only in the present and it will be sometimes before she realises the truth that she never got to see her paternal grandma, and that picture is everything she has about her.
My Husband KP has lived all his life accepting the fact about not having his mother around. How he passed through the ordeals is a different story altogether, and like I said, his maternal grands raised him within their best efforts. With their passing aways in consecutive years, KP's life only became dimmer.
As for me, this abrupt thought of having a proper in-law family often craves, for the mere fact that my Husband's life would have been the most different. And when I think of Leksh and Lolo who never really got to know any of their paternal grands, I feel even sadder. My parents are around today to take care of our children, and had we had KP's mother also around, I can imagine a totally different life.
Like last week when KP held the only artefact that belonged to his mother, which came into his possession only few years ago, the look on his face said what thought crossed his mind. In such moments, I don't say anything. On contrary, I still have my parents around and life is just about perfect, so any comment from my side would not suffice his situation. Therefore, I remain silent.
What may come, I think I will continue to wish I had a chance to know KP's mother. The wish comes stronger when I think of our girls, that they by all means deserve to have two sets of grandparents. When time comes, I will pass down the story to my Lolo. Leksh, in due course of time have come to understand the absence and thence accepted the voidness.
As for me, I think I will continue pondering for all times, with this distant memoir of conversation with my mother as a child:
"No mother will take you for a daughter-in-law", my mother would remark when I got stubborn.
"I will marry a man without a mother!" my answer always stood the same.
"No man comes without a mother," my mother would protest.
"You never know. I might meet one," and I met KP.
Sometimes, you predict the most uncertain life for yourself.