Redefining “Mother-in-Law”

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. 

Virginia and her first grandson


36 thoughts on “Redefining “Mother-in-Law”

  1. Unrelated but I thought of you:

  2. You’re so lucky to have such a good relationship with her. Thankfully I don’t have to talk to mine anymore since she doesn’t speak to my Fiancé now. But she never made any attempt to talk to me or get to know me, she just went about making me feel uncomfortable wherever she was.

    • Oh man I’m so sorry you have to deal with such a selfish, nasty woman. It blows my mind how some people will sacrifice important relationships for their own petty reasons. She’s really missing out! Yours sounds a lot like my sister’s mother-in-law, except she was REALLY sweet and amazing up until they got married. Literally the day her son married my sister, she turned into an insane, evil woman. Bizarre!

      • Wow that sounds really bizarre and a tad crazy.
        Suppose it’s to be expected really, perhaps we’ll all be crazy mother in laws one day.

      • haha right? Well, I hope not. I’m hoping that my children someday will choose partners who respect them, love them, and most importantly make them happy. Even if I’m not the world’s biggest fan of my children’s spouses, if they make my kids happy then what’s not to like?!

  3. Aw that’s so sweet!! I’ve had mixed luck with mothers…some not bad but some of them horrors!

  4. Ahh! You are right when you say that your friends with horrible MIL’s would not appreciate your comments. My blood was heating just reading that part of your post… Did you read what I wrote about my MIL yesterday???

    In all honesty, though, you are so very lucky that you have such a wonderful woman in your life! I think many women, including myself, would do anything for such a pleasant person to exist in our lives!

    • Hahah no I haven’t read it yet!!! YIKES bad timing on my part LOL I’ll have to go read it in a bit. Sorry you haven’t been blessed with a heavenly MIL, booooo.

  5. Wonderful to read and hear of how blessed you are to have such a beautiful mother in law. I strive to be like her and trust that my daughters (in laws) will be able to refer to me like you do to her. Lovely reading x

    • Thank you so much, I do feel very blessed! Your daughters-in-law are lucky to have you too! Someone who strives to be an encouraging and kind mother-in-law. I’m sure they appreciate you more than you know!

  6. This makes me so happy 🙂 I feel the exact same way about Josh’s mom, and could never imagine being with someone with a terrible mother! It makes sense that she is so great though. With a son like hers, she is bound to be awesome!

    • I’m so glad you love your future MIL too heheh! 😉 It’s such a good feeling to know that you can completely be yourself around your man’s family and they will accept you. Josh’s mom is lucky to have such a wonderful daughter-in-law! 😀

  7. In so happy you don’t have to endure what I’ve had to with my own MIL. If anything, the whole experience of having a Monster in law has taught me how NOT to be when my son brings home girls and hopefully a wife someday. Life is way to short to be at odds with those closest to you about such petty things. Love you sis!

    • Thanks Char, I hate that you have the monster-in-law that you do. You are such an amazing woman, it is truly her loss to not be a part of your life. Liam is a very lucky boy to have you for a mother, his future wife someday is going to adore you the same way I adore my MIL!

  8. My fleshling owner’s mother in law was just one of this type – a darling, darling woman who succumbed to Leukaemia after a 16 year battle. We all miss her but are thankful for the gift that she was (and continues to be) to us all (including stony faced shelf-ornaments 🙂 ) Here’s to fantastic acquired family!

    • Oh I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s hard to lose such a beautiful person. 16 years, what a long and tiring struggle it must have been. I can only imagine she is watching over you now, so proud of her children, both biological and not! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Aw, what a sweet tribute to Virginia! And you ARE very lucky. I’m not married but my quasi-MIL is downright evil, sneaky, manipulative, insidious and to be quite honest, I am fearful that I will end up the inspiration for a Lifetime movie or Law and Order SVU episode. So you should feel very, very blessed. That’s awesome! And for sure, it will put less stress on your and your fiance’s relationship!

  10. What a sweet post!

    I have a decent mil too. She makes me special food and although SOMETIMES tries to sneak in a “haha” funny comment that I’m not thinking is so “haha”, at my own expense, of course, she’s a good person. And she adores M. So I can’t complain!!

    • What you don’t love jokes at your own expense?? Weird. I guess it means she really loves you if she feels comfortable enough to rag on you. That’s family!

      And who could not love M?

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