Monday, April 20, 2009


I am writing with the full knowledge that my MIL is reading this. I have been blessed by the In-Law Fairy. It is hard to believe that I lucked into such wonderful, smart, funny, involved and loving in-laws. They are better than I could have ever imagined. My MIL and I have a very close relationship and my in-laws come over about once a week to play games or share a meal.

Having said that, my mother-in-law is also prone to giving me some doozie stereotypical in-law comments. Every once in a while she'll make a comment that just begs to be shared with someone in a story that begins "You'll never believe what my mother-in-law said to me..." Here is one such story that I'm still laughing about today.

Last night they came over for dinner and cards. Upon arrival my MIL looked right at me and said "I really don't like your hair." It may have even been the first thing she said to me. I was speechless, which is a rare thing. Knowing that she loves me despite my hair, I laughed. And, really, she's right. It's awful hair. But still, how great is it to be able to tell people that my mother-in-law looked right at me and, out of the blue, just said "That's really bad hair."

She also took a look around our house and commented on how clean it was. A great compliment to a family that usually lives just shy of squalor in the dirt and mess department. Just as I was feeling a swell of pride that she'd noticed the effort we'd put into it, she said "You must have gotten your house cleaners back!" Because surely, you two couldn't have pulled this off yourselves... And for the record, no we haven't gotten our housecleaners back. Andrew was laid off and while we can be stupid with money, we're not THAT stupid!

I am grateful to her for being outspoken. I love to laugh at her comments but I also love to laugh with her. If she weren't so outspoken and truthful, we wouldn't have such a close relationship. I'm sure I've given her many "You'll never believe what my daughter-in-law said" stories as well.

In addition to the material she gives to me as my mother-in-law, she has also contributed a great many hilarious stories to her family history. The "Get Away From That Wall Of Death!" story and the spraypaint on the bedroom walls stories are my two favorites ;-)

When my husband was growing up, she was a big force in his life and had a big part in creating the person he is today. The stories he tells about growing up in their house are so rich with detail that I almost feel like I was there too.

He had a very stereotypical American upbringing. His dad went to work every day for 40 years to the same company with the same bologna sandwich in his lunch box. They lived in the same house from the time he was a newborn until a few years ago. His mom stayed at home and made meatloaf, "dry chicken", and frozen pizzas. Their harvest gold Maytag washer and dryer set had replaced the pink ones that they had gotten as hand-me-downs before that. They had a parade of stray pets through their house and they shot hoops in the driveway. In hearing about it, I get the benefit of this nice, steady experience even though my own included divorce, back and forth parent visits, 8 homes over 18 years, etc. Don't get me wrong, I loved my childhood and wouldn't change it. But I love hearing about an experience different than mine.

Despite the traditional childhood they gave my husband, my in-laws are anything but traditional. They travel the world in search of adventure. They study world religion, relationships, and spirituality. They reach for new knowledge, new people and new experiences. They moved into a neighborhood so full of activity that we have to fit our visits into their busy schedules now. They are loving their lives and filling them to the brim.

I have learned so much from my in-laws since meeting them ten years ago. I am thankful for their influence on my children, my husband and myself. Their personalities and life experience compliment my own parents' in a way that makes me feel like I have the best of both worlds. If ever I need advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just great company, I have so many wonderful parents to choose from. Each offering me something different but something very much needed and treasured.


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