Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Article #99 In-Laws

With any marriage comes a whole new set of relatives called in-laws meaning family by law instead of blood. At some point when your dating gets serious, you’ll meet your partner’s parents and siblings. For most couples this is a major step in furthering their relationship, introducing their sweetheart to good old mom and dad to get their approval or in more modern times just to meet them, sometimes even after the marriage. If you’re still living at home this meeting can happen early in your relationship as you begin dating. But for those residing on their own away at college or working, it takes some effort to make contact.

My future mother-in-law came to visit me while I was a college student. Guess she couldn’t wait for me to come see her as she lived many states away. I learned by telephone of her impending visit. I sensed that it wasn’t easy for this strong woman to let her oldest son untie his apron strings. She wanted to check me out since I was to be her replacement. (Photo above of my new inlaws: l-r brother-in-law Robert, father-in-law Frank C, husband Frank W, me, my grandmother in front, mother-in-law Marion and my mother Evelyn.)

I guess I passed the test, for our wedding plans proceeded. My father-in-law who I met at a later time was more unconditionally accepted. I loved him immediately and called him dad easily. But my mother in law Marion was a different matter, seems she always had some bit of advice on anything and everything which I didn’t gratefully accept but looked upon, in my insecurity, as her doubts of my ability to be a good wife to her son. I was just grateful she lived hundreds of miles away.

Just saying the word "mother-in-law" can send shudders up your spine depending on your experience with one. Mine was very controlling and her visits were stressful to say the least, but not everyone has that experience. No one prepares you for this aspect of marriage, and having in-laws. There are two sets of them, the bride and the groom’s parents. Probably the most difficult in-law relationship is between the bride and the groom’s mother, maybe because they are both female. Giving advice is a tricky situation when it comes to how to raise the children, setup the home, etc. You probably don’t ever appreciate your mother-in-law until years later when you become one and see what a sensitive role it is.


Jo, a retired teacher said...

Nice post, Lin.

Luckily for me, my mother-in-law was happy her son ended up with a girl who wasn't as much of a wild rebel as he tried to be. We've gotten along well.

But, being a mother-in-law to the wives of my sons has been a big challenge. I've learned to do a lot of tongue-biting to keep peace. In battles like that, the sons are the ones who pay.

Linda Reeder said...

I was lucky with my mother-in-law, and we lost her far too early. She would have loved sharing in our lives and watching our kids become adults.
I don't have a daughter-in-law, but I am careful with my son-in-law, since we have very different political and religious views. We don't hide anything from each other, but we avoid deep conversations where we might disagree.

SandyCarlson said...

You brought back a lot of memories and offered some wise insights. My ex-mother-in-law was a tormentor, and she taught me plenty.

mom/caryn said...

My mother-in-law, Wayne's step- mother is a spawn of the Devil. She's a twisted, sick...bordering on evil, woman. We avoid her at all costs, which has been pretty easy actually, since we had to make an appointment to visit with Wayne's dad and she didn't allow us to stay longer than 15 minutes. (It was a two hour drive from our home) When Wayne's dad passed away, she sort of faded into the wallpaper and into our memories.
We all danced in the moonlight and threw confetti on the streets when we realized that she didn't have to be a part of our lives any longer...

His siblings, however, are one of the BEST parts of my life. They're absolutely wonderful in every way. I adore each and every one of them and all of their kids.
Sadly, I'd think rather be with my sisters-in-law than my blood sisters. They're closer in age... no wait... maybe not. But, they are younger and I seem to have a difficult time growing up. I have much more in common with them. Our kids are the same ages, we dress alike, decorate our homes to one anothers liking, laugh at the same kind of jokes, and GET what life is like with a "Stott Man".

Kay said...

I am always grateful that my husband's mother was a saint. I loved her dearly and she always let me know she was happy I was part of her family. I miss her very much.

Cheryl said...

My husband's mom passed away when he was 17 and his dad passed away when he was 21. Sadly I never got to know them but know I would have loved them dearly, as Mark is such a wonderful husband and stepfather. Mark's stepmother is a lovely woman and she has welcomed my children and myself into his family. I hope I can be a good MIL when the time comes for any of my children to marry!

Rambling Woods said...

My MIL was so scary for about 3 I love her as my own... Michelle