Month of May Mothers: Mother-in-Law

EndoraWhat a fascinating and complicated this relationship can be: the one woman who is at the center of her child’s world is forced to abdicate her thrown for some new usurper, some interloper, who by chance, lust, love, fate, and sparks has taken a part of a child’s heart (who is now a grown man or woman), and will not return it in the same condition of which it was found.

From my own observations, the quality of the relationship between a mother-in-law and the son or daughter-in-law usually depends on the degree of confidence and security of each party. The more insecure either person is, the more stings and thorns bite, and a whole lot of little piggies get stepped on.

I love my mother-in-law: she raised my husband when it was an impossible task. She was a young single mom in the 1960s, no home, no job, and my husband, as a teenager, let it be said was, um, quite opinionated. He still is, but as learned to temper his temper with temperance. I don’t know if I can take any of the credit for that, but I will.

The epiphany of the insecurity factor hit me when I was cleaning the other day. I was vacuuming around the hearth, and every time I clean there I remember what my MIL said about our home when we first bought it. We were so proud. But she didn’t think the marble color would be right, and the linen closest was too small. That’s all I remember. Now, I’m sure she must have said something nice. What is it in my own insecurity that only remembers the negative? What power a woman!

We have had to fight tooth, nail, and split ends to keep this house. No, it’s not decorated very well, and we’re still driving very old cars. I know she wants what is best for her son, and if a little remark here and there keeps me on my toes, well, okay. I think she respects all of the hard work I’ve done, and how much I love her son. Most everything can be forgiven with love.

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