They say when you marry someone, you also marry his/her family. Yikes, right? I mean, we’ve all heard the stories about the dreaded in-laws. What am I saying? I’m sure most of us tell these stories.
Please don’t hate me, but I’m afraid I cannot join the throngs of men and women who rue the day they gained a bonus family member upon marrying their spouse. From what I hear, I’m pretty sure I hit the mother-in-law jackpot. Which works out so well for me, since she is the only mother figure in my life now and the only grandmother my children will ever have.
I’m so grateful that she respects my decisions as a parent and never pushes even when I’m sure she thinks some of my rules/worries/ideas are ridiculous. (Hello, I am a car seat freak. I didn’t let the kids have a single stitch of fabric in their cribs until well after a year old. And the list goes on and on. And on.) She has her own daughter, yet never makes me feel like just her son’s wife. She always includes me, is generous, and even goes so far as to include my family in her traditions and celebrations. I mean, come on. Does it get better than that? No, my friends, it does not. Oh wait, actually, it DOES.
If my husband and I have an argument, she usually takes my side. I have never felt like I couldn’t be honest with her about any struggle we’ve had and she’s never (outwardly, at least!) judged me. She will tell my husband if he’s acting a fool, but is never harsh or unkind about it. We take family vacations together, share gin and tonics while our husbands fish on the lake all day. She cooks fabulous meals and teaches my girls how to bake. (Thankfully, because Lord knows they won’t learn it from me.)
I KNOW. WINNING.
When my mom died, she left a huge hole in my heart, a void in my life. I hadn’t yet gotten engaged, married, bought a house, had a family… These are all milestones in my life that I assumed she would be present for. Betty never overstepped, never tried to take that role, but somehow made it less awful for me. She welcomed me into her family and treats me like I always have been a part of it.
I only hope to someday be as amazing to the people my children marry as she has been to me.