My mother-in-law is visiting us for a few days this week. This means that we paid extra-special attention to cleaning the house prior to her arrival. Although she’d never say anything directly, she’s the type that notices dust and stains and things out of place. She is also old fashioned enough to consider the cleanliness of the house to be in my purview, not her son’s (just like she is old fashioned enough to insist on assigning my husband’s last name to me even though she’s aware that I kept my own).
We are very different in many ways. In addition to my not-quite-to-her-standards housekeeping, we have different political and world views. She is extraverted and loves to talk and I’m aware that my introverted tendencies puzzle—perhaps disappoint—her. I know I should call her now and then to just chat, but chatting on the phone for long periods of time is my definition of one of the rings of hell. I have tried to introduce her to texting (my favorite way of non-face-to-face communication), but she isn’t very interested in, or comfortable with, technology. She is also loves clothes and shoes and is a lot more focused on fashion and style than I am.
So, you might ask, why have I chosen her for my GratiTuesday post? Of course I am grateful for her giving birth to my husband and raising him to be the man he is today. But it’s also because she is a truly remarkable woman.
My mother-in-law has more energy than just about anyone I know. She travels, entertains, works out, volunteers, plays bridge several days a week, and is the first one to extend a very capable, helping hand to anyone who needs it. She always has a smile and a kind word and makes friends wherever she goes.
She has endured more than her share of challenges and tragedies in her life but she has managed to keep a positive attitude and push ahead. I have never seen her complain or burden someone else with her pain. She has a few health issues but you would never know it by talking to her or observing her.
One of my mother-in-law’s favorite things to do is shop at thrift stores and consignment shops. She can put together a stunning outfit on less money than I might pay for a single pair of shoes. She is teeny-tiny so she wears clothes beautifully and, at 83 years old, she rocks skinny jeans, leather jackets, and high heels. Her favorite color combination is black and white, which she augments with touches of red, purple, and animal prints. She loves shoes and has more pairs (often bought second-hand) than most people I know – and they are way cuter and higher heeled than most of mine.
My husband and I will enjoy her while she is here and probably heave a sigh of relief when she is leaves. We will become a lot more relaxed and a less concerned about a little dust here and there. Our house will soon look comfortably lived-in and become quiet again. And, we will miss her.
I should probably give her a call in a week or so just to chat.