When my friends tell stories about their terrible mothers-in-law, I laugh and pretend to understand their pain. I can commiserate, as I also have some difficult people in my life, but my mother-in-law, Virginia, just doesn’t happen to be one of them. With all of these mother-in-law horror stories, I have to wonder, how did I get so lucky? More importantly, am I being deprived of the ability to trash my MIL for the rest of my life? I think so.
Maybe the next time I’m with a group of friends who are ranting about their crazy in-laws, I will chime in with a “yeah, my mother-in-law is the worst. She always plans family meals around my gazillion food allergies, making sure I have plenty to eat and am safe” or “that Virginia, she is so respectful and has such a natural sense of boundaries when it comes to relationships!” Maybe with a snarl I’ll add “she sent me flowers when my dog died and when I was sick. And she writes me loving, encouraging emails when I’m having a hard time. Ugh.” I have a feeling my friends plagued with bad mothers-in-law would not appreciate my sentiments.
While my friends are dealing with overbearing, rude, malicious, deceiving, and sometimes downright evil mothers-in-law, I have somehow inherited one who makes complaining impossible.
She is truly wonderful. From the first day I met Virginia, she has made me feel loved and like I was part of the family. I remember one of my very first conversations with her. We were sitting on the beach talking about religion, a topic often avoided in families due to its controversial nature, but I felt like I could say exactly how I was feeling and tell her my innermost thoughts, and that was good enough. Virginia accepts people for who they are and isn’t quick to judge. She works tirelessly at family get-togethers to make sure everybody is having fun and is happy. She listens to people when they talk. In a world where so many people converse with others and constantly think “what can I say about myself, how does this topic relate to me?”, Virginia is different.
So happy birthday to a woman who I hesitate to refer to as my “mother-in-law” because of the negative connotation those three little words seem to have. In my eyes, she is truly a second mother. If bad mothers-in-law are the rule, then Virginia is the exception. I feel so blessed to have her in my life as a role model, family member, friend, and future grandmother of my kids.
Virginia loves drag queens, labradoodles, going to church, birdwatching, her grandson, dry humor, and hides her eyes during scary movies. She gets silly after one glass of wine, makes a killer lasagna, and loves to laugh and enjoy every single moment. When she is with you, she is present. Always. She raised the kindhearted, silly, and respectful man that I love wholeheartedly and for that, I will always love her and be grateful to her.