I was hired recently to write a short article for a family blog.
I was given the topic, “How to Deal With Your Mother-In-Law.”
And, wouldn’t you know it — the day after I submitted my lofty, theoretical essay on “how to interact harmoniously with your mother-in-law,” she arrived for a rare visit. And, she didn’t just pop in; she stayed overnight.
This was not an accident; it was God’s way of allowing me to practice my written theories.
Mom Z has faith and moxie.
She grew up in another culture; oceans away from my stoic Scandinavian-German upbringing. She is a feisty, persistent gal, which is fortunate, considering her amazing life story and widowhood. She is also a terrifically thorough housekeeper and talented seamstress.
When she arrived last week, she pulled out a tiny mountain of post-season baseball shirts with patches. Nobody wants 2016 promo sport shirts in 2017, but Mom’s friend gave her a bunch free. So, while holding a blue shirt in her always-beautifully-orange-polished fingernails, she whispered:
“You just take the patch off and put something else there – whatever you want. Turn it over – see? And, stitch by stitch you can pull it out. Have a little patience.”
I nodded and smiled, inwardly knowing that I would never attempt this.
She tells what is on her mind– I never have to wonder. And, if we don’t have a chance to talk at the end of her visit, I will know what she thinks by the gifts she gives me the next time I see her:
- She will give me bathroom towels (mine were too ratty?) or
- Some room freshener (guess our home smelled stinky) or
- Canned goods (our refrigerator must have looked a little empty.)
(She is a generous giver.)
In earlier years, I was slightly offended when she:
- Told me that I “shouldn’t dress like a nun”
- Cleaned out my crumb-filled toaster with a toothpick
- Mentioned after cleaning the dirty highchair that it smelled like “parmesan cheese”
Little things like that can either annoy me, or (calling upon my sense of humor) endear me to this mysteriously unique character.
I have a choice.
Just because she loves in her different way, doesn’t mean her different way is wrong.
So, if you’re wondering how to love your mother-in-law (or maybe just start liking her)…
…I will share some ideas in a future post!
(c) Lisa M. Luciano