Friday, May 29, 2009

Becoming a Mother-in-Law

In a few months, November to be exact, when Chris and Heather tie the knot, I'll become a Mother-in-Law. Gasp. Here's another role for me, this one replete with its own colorful history. Everyone, it seems, has mother-in-law jokes or horror stories to tell regarding this member of the extended family. (I ask, how come there aren't father-in-law jokes? Hmmmmm.) The new hat I'll wear has been on my mind frequently. Don't we all want to be the best we can be? Who do we look to for guidance? My last two blog posts about the importance of mentors in my life segues nicely into the question of how I might prepare for this important transition.

I'm so fortunate to have such a wonderful role model in Virginia, my own Mother-in-Law. Virginia taught me much about "being there" without being in my face, about support and love, about weathering the good times and the no-so-good times, about strength and courage, about loving my family, and about forgiveness. A year ago I blogged about Virginia on the occasion of her Birthday. Yesterday was that special day again; another chance to reflect on and to celebrate her life. She would have been 95 if she were alive. I miss her, perhaps even more so now that I'm about to step into that uncharted role of Mother-in-Law. I remember how our relationship grew over time, how she supported and invited me into her life, and the many times we laughed (and cried) over those 26 years.

Yesterday we remembered Virginia (and her birthday) with our tradition of eating a meal at one of her favorite restaurants. Denny used to take Virginia to lunch at Spiros rather frequently; she loved the salad and specialty pizza, the casual atmosphere, and probably more than anything, the chance to sit with her son over a nice meal. Since her death, we've gone to Spiros on her birthday every year and I hope we can continue this tradition long into the future.

This year D and I were thrilled to introduce our daughter-in-law to be to this mini-celebration of Virginia's life. The restaurant was hopping when we arrived last evening. Familiar as always, the menu never changing, the service and food up to the quality we've grown to expect, the five of us (see picture above minus me) had a great time. D remarked that had Virginia been with us she would have "picked up the tab". Exactly right. She was always generous in addition to her other qualities.

All this brings me back to the anticipation of becoming a Mother-in-Law. Thankfully I've a good role model and hope that I can live up to all she taught me. God Bless You, Virginia!


  1. It will be wonderful to have Heather as part of the family!

  2. Congratulations on your impending role as MIL! I have no doubt that your daughter-n-law will look back on you as you do Virginia.

  3. I remember my mother-in-law fondly, though were very different people and saw each infrequently once Ken and I moved to Maine. I have such mixed feelings about my son moving across the country to be with his intended that I wonder what effect that will have on my relationship with my daughter-in-law. Things between us have been strained since I learned of her plans for grad school....We will need to find a way to relate to each other because we both love a very special man, my oldest son.

  4. Lovely post. A new friend of mine, Susan Lieberman, has just published a book called The Mohter-in-Law's Manual. She writes with humor and because she had quite a time beocming a 'good' mother-in-law, whatever that it. I'll send it on. It may be food for thought.

  5. I loved going to Spiros! It was so much fun. I hope we keep the tradition up as well :)


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