That's me and my big hair on my middle son's wedding day. It was in the late spring of 2011. And it was wonderful. He decided to marry the most beautiful and wonderful of girls...so, that's made my new job fairly easy.
We've all heard the in-law jokes. Hopefully, heard and not told. Growing a family is a big, important and - if done with care and selflessness - rewarding job.
The "care" part is often easy.
"Selflessness," on the other hand, well...
Most of you reading today have some in-law connection. You may not be or have a parent-in-law, but you likely have a brother-in-law, sister-in-law or cousin-in-law. I was thrilled to get my first sister-in-law, when I was only five, because although having three brothers was okay...it was fun to finally have a sister.
Mother-in-law? I hate to brag, but mine is amazing. She actually deserves an award. She won the crazy daughter-in-law jackpot and has always acted like I'm really enjoyable to have around. Amazing.
From what I've seen and heard, my own mother is pretty awesome at the in-law thing, and she says my father's mom was amazing at in-lawing as well. I'm obviously blessed here, and I know it.
But, I still hear the jokes. And sometimes hear the not-so-funny woes of those with in-law issues. I've even seen most of that movie where Jane Fonda is a crazy mother of the groom...and even another where some guy's mom is freakishly jealous of her son's new wife. And I did an entire blog once on my "inner Marie Barone."
So, what's the point of my blog today? Well, you see...it's this crazy bag sitting on a little bistro table in the corner of my kitchen.
We got another CD from the wedding photographer as a sort of 1st Anniversary gift a while back. And it was given to me to give to my kids. But, the thing is...the boy is in Africa and with work, I may not see the girl for a few more days. It's killing me. That cute bag holding what I know to be amazing bonus pictures from an amazing day...and yet...
My first thought was, "I'll just pop it in my computer real quick and look. Then, right back in the bag it'll go!" Then, I reasoned, "I'll just call and ask if I can pop it in my computer real quick and look. They won't care."
Then, I asked, "WWO/PD?" Translation: "What Would Olena/Pearl Do?" Olena and Pearl are my mom and mom-in-law. We'll just call them "O.P." Or, "Opie." (Sorry, now I'm just amusing myself at your expense. And theirs.)
Well, I'll tell you what O/P wouldn't do. They would never, ever think about doing a thing with the contents of that bag, other than getting them into the rightful hands. I can hear O/P's thoughts in my head right now, "It is not mine. It is my daughter-in-law's. It was her big day. I already had mine. I will get to see them soon enough."
My daughter-in-law's eyes should be the first pair to see those pictures. Of course, I know that. I haven't looked at them, I promise. I just wish I was to the O/P level of mother-in-lawing where I wouldn't even consider dabbling with the thought!
Well, maybe I'm doing some things right. By God's grace. A month or so ago, the couple had stopped by on the way to my son's in-laws' house. Some time passed and it was getting late. I asked my son if they shouldn't be getting on down the road. "Oh, I thought we'd wait until Dad got here." ("Dad" was coming home from a missions' trip and not due back for hours.) I pulled the boy aside. "Look, buddy. I love you to pieces...you know that. And we love seeing you. But, you've got a sweet, little wife who needs to see her mom, too. I love you, but please leave." He smiled at me and said, "You're right, Mom. We should go." I hugged them both tightly and off they went.
I'm so used to having my boys in my cave for the past couple of decades, that even though two-thirds of them no longer live here, it's easy for me to just let them come home and get back in the old routines. But, especially with Mr. Married...that's not exactly the healthiest of things. It would be easy to keep being "mommy," and I'll absolutely always be "mom," but...the only "mommy" he needs to be paying attention to right now is the one he's going to be a "daddy" with come January 2013.
Everyone knows that in-law is different than, well, different than "I'm the one who changed your diapers." But, in-law should be seen as a blessing and not a curse. Hey, I'm not entirely stupid. Not everyone has the nerves of steel my poor mother-in-law possesses to put up with daughters-in-law like me. I also know each family is unique and there are those things that are completely out of our control.
What I'm thinking about today is the things we can control. Like not talking badly about our in-laws in front of our kids...or in front of anyone, for that matter. How about even choosing to treat in-laws simply as "in." In our family. Period.
Yep. Things we can control.
Things like not ripping into that stinkin' bag!