Jeremy Hon, Staff Writer
It was on April 14, 2016, when Tina Plantamura wrote a heartfelt letter to her mother-in-law for the website Upworthy. In the publicized letter she wrote: ‘you always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything.’ Tina went on to explain how she wanted to prevent her three sons from becoming ‘selfish brats’ but her mother-in-law was constantly spoiling them.
On her personal website, Tina describes herself as ‘a seamstress by trade and a freelance writer at heart.’ She has written for publications such as The Huffington Post, Ravishly and also Upworthy. The mother of three lives in the central NJ shore area and when ‘she’s not mulling over 1/4 inch seams or trying to find ways to stop using inappropriate sarcasm with her children, you can find her running on the boardwalk or rereading dog-eared pages of her favorite books.’
She wrote: ‘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? You ran to them as soon as they made the tiniest sound. How would they ever learn to self-soothe?’
Then suddenly, Tina wrote about how she no longer had to worry about her mother-in-law spoiling her kids since she was gone. ‘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. But they lost their grandma too soon and too suddenly. They were not ready to say goodbye.’
Tina then explained how all those years that she thought her sons were being ‘spoiled’ by their grandmother were actually her way of showing that she loved her grandchildren. She wrote: ‘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.’
Tina then states that her kids, who are now in their teens, genuinely miss their grandmother. Not for her gifts, or her cooking or her money, but they miss their grandma. ‘They miss running to greet you at the door and hugging you before you could step in. They miss looking up at the bleachers and seeing you, one of their biggest fans, smiling and enthralled to catch their eye. They miss talking to you and hearing your words of wisdom, encouragement and love.’
As Tina comes to the conclusion of her article and explains how she finally understands the reasoning and true value of her mother-in-law’s love she writes: ‘your love is a big part of who they are and what they will become as they grow. For this, and for every treat and gift, and every time you held them too long or consoled them too much or let them stay up too late, I will always thank you. And I will wish a million times that you could do it all again.’