Peeps, we’re having a few challenges at chez O’Hara, not the least of which is my mother-in-law fell and broke her tailbone. She’s fundamentally fine, thanks, but I’m sure you understand we’re concerned about her. If not handled properly, events such as these can mean huge and permanent life changes for an elderly person.
While I strive not to fret about her or a Christmas which feels more frazzled than its typical state of frazzlement, I’m going to a place of gratitude. Would you like to join me?
In some respects, my mother-in-law and I couldn’t be more opposite from one another. Nevertheless, and going against the grain of all MIL stories there are out there, she:
1. Bore and shares with me her son, who is the kind of man who works ridiculous hours, yet when the phone rings on his first day off in weeks, hies off to the hospital without breakfast or a shave and doesn’t leave until he knows she’s settled.
2. Knows the birthdates, school names, grades and as much of their intimate lives as all the offspring of her seven children will grant her.
3. Taught me how to cope with a laugh and only ten seconds of panic if the dinner party multiplied by two. With five minutes’ notice.
- sewed capes for my father-in-law when he got into vampires over twenty years ago, before they were cool.
- attended Sherlock Holmes clubs with him, even when she would probably rather have pulled his Deerstalker hat over his eyes and pummelled him with his magnifying glass.
- framed my father-in-law’s paintings and cross-stitchery.
- tolerated hours of music practice, punctuated with chord crashes and epithets.
- knows and cares about my writing, even though she’s not a reader.
5. Babysat, cooked and cheered as required to help me when I worked and our childcare arrangements fell through. Was proud of my career, carefully concerned when I left it, but never made me feel like I didn’t work or was “less than” because I was at home.
In these five ways and many more, my mother-in-law guided my own ideas of grandparenthood, parenthood, and perhaps someday, how I’ll welcome my kids’ spouses to the family.
How about your own mother-in-law? What has she taught you about life that has made you a better person?
And peeps, I won’t post again until Monday next, so until then, please have a merry Christmas or wonderful holiday celebration, according to the customs of your culture! And thank you for being here and indulging me in another sentimental (but heartfelt) post.