I’m sorry if you thought my title was in jest – I don’t have any Mother-in-Law jokes. I really like my Mother-in-Law — but I know I am in the minority.
And why is that? I am forever perplexed that women don’t get along with the most inspirational woman in the life of the man they have chosen as their partner. Sure my Mother-in-Law has her little idiosyncrasies that drive me nuts but isn’t that true about anyone? Why is it that a Mother-in-Law’s idiosyncrasies get on our nerves more than anyone else’s? While my Mother-in-Law isn’t the first person I’d invite on a girl’s weekend, I do love, honor and respect her.
I have to be honest however, I haven’t always thought this way.
When my husband and I were first married, I was happy we lived hours away from his family. He was the oldest of three boys who left his hometown and married someone who didn’t live with a few square miles. I had nothing in common with my Mother-in-Law, our taste could not be more different (including how we cooked Thanksgiving dinner!). And his family was just too close – Sunday dinners together, playing cards well into the evening, knowing all the little details of each other’s lives. I wondered if any of them enjoyed a minute on their own.
I loved the independent life my husband and I were building. Spontaneous weekends away, fun evenings with friends doing anything other than playing cards!
Then children came.
My father always told me that I would not understand love until I had a child of my own. My first was a boy – love long before first sight! As I fell more and more in love with my son with each passing day, I began to understand my Mother-in-Law in a whole new light. Even though I marveled at this amazing little boy with a mind and spirit all his own, I realized how much influence I had over the man he would become. My Mother-in-Law was that influential spirit in my husband’s life. And he turned out pretty darn good!
I started seeing qualities in my husband that she put there, and I told her thank you.
A couple weekends ago we attended the wedding of our nephew – the son of my husband’s brother. I have known this young man since he was a toddler – seeing him dressed in a tux, making a lifelong commitment was almost unreal for me. I had a great 2nd row seat – watched his bride say her vows and felt my heart swell when I realized how in love she was with him.
I thought of my Sister-in-Law and hoped that her daughter-in-law, though they have little in common other than this young man, will love, honor and respect her too.
And, I have yet to meet my future daughter-in-law, but I do hope she will want to spend Sunday dinner with us!