Category Archives: Family & Friends

Be a Loving Mother In Law on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday of May.  It’s a day for remembering all the men and women who have died in military service for our country.  But it has also expanded into something broader — a day for remembering anyone special —  whether departed or still alive and kicking!

Some of us visit cemeteries or attend parades on Memorial Day. Others have picnics or take bike rides.  Depending on our unique perspectives, it could be a day of mourning or a celebration of life. The possibilities are endless.

Flag

For my family, this recent Memorial Day weekend was an opportunity to catch up on household chores at a leisurely pace.  We mixed it up with smidgeons of fun.  My husband and I grabbed dinner at a neighborhood restaurant one evening.  We enjoyed gardening and a bar-b-q on Monday.  We FaceTimed our 4-year-old grandson.  It was an easy, unstructured weekend.

I also reminisced about my dad who passed away more than 20 years ago.  I posted his photo and a short tribute on Facebook — my way of publicly honoring his memory.  He was a World War II hero, but more importantly, he was my hero.  My dad’s grave is halfway across the country, but he’ll always be near my heart.

Who knew our time would be cut short when he suffered a stroke? Who knew I would never, ever again have a chance to say, “I love you.”

So here’s my post-Memorial Day (or any day) reflection.  Cherish others now.  Foster what is good in every relationship.  Be a loving mother-in-law today.  Make some happy memories!

Be Good to Your Mother In Law. It’s Father’s Day!

Lily
It’s Father’s Day . . .

It’s Father’s Day and I’m thinking about my dad. It’s hard to believe that he died so long ago.  It seems like yesterday although 24 years have passed. Back then, I was pregnant with our second child — a daughter.

I received two life-changing phone calls on that memorable day. The first was a long-distance phone call from my mother.  She was crying and said, “Your dad has passed away.” My heart started pounding. I spent several hours pacing, tearfully asking myself the usual questions when a loved one dies. Why did this happen? What exactly happened? How could this possibly have happened?

Then, there was the second phone call. It was the nurse from my doctor’s office. I heard excitement in her voice. “Great news! You’re pregnant!”  I felt a jumble of conflicting emotions – complete joy and utter sadness. I was overjoyed to be pregnant but unhappy that our precious baby would never meet my dad. And, our six-year-old’s journey in getting to know and love his grandpa had ended far too soon.

There would forever be a void. The grandpa-and-grandchildren fishing trips would never be. Maybe my father would have taught his grandson to golf. He had been a caddy as a boy and had a perfect golf stance and swing. Would he have called our daughter, ‘Baby?’ It was his pet name for me. Possibilities for a relationship between my father and my children had vanished.

So, it’s Father’s Day. It’s natural to reminisce about the 45 years of marriage my father and mother shared. I remember a recurring conflict between my parents — the mother-in-law issue. My mom didn’t like my dad’s mother. She pretended to get along in public but complained to my father privately.  My mom also made thoughtless remarks within earshot of her kids. I’d hear her tell my dad, “Your mother wants us over for dinner on your day off! You should be spending your free time with me and the kids — not with your mother!” Or she’d say, “Your mother favors your brother over you.” Another one was, “Your mother spoils your sister’s kids and ignores ours.”  The complaints went on and on, and my dad just listened. He never uttered a retaliatory word. I know it bothered him, and it bothered me. I was a little kid, torn between believing my mother’s nasty comments and trusting my own immature intuition. Did my grandmother deserve such harsh criticism? I had no evidence. She always seemed at ease, often hunched over her stove or wiping her hands on her colorful apron, while a mob of grandkids ran in and out of her house.

Long ago, I realized my mom’s behavior was wrong. For whatever reasons, jealousies or insecurities, she was absolutely wrong in harping about her mother-in-law. It was toxic to our family and hurtful to my dad. He was a good husband and a patient and loving father.  He was a good son. My father didn’t deserve the mother-in-law drama that his wife stirred up.

My mother passed away a few months ago. I am saddened, on this Father’s Day, that she missed an opportunity to make my dad happy by accepting his mother. She missed an opportunity for herself as well. Compassion and communication can heal relationships and misunderstandings. For my parents, there is no going back — no second chances. No more Father’s Days. No more Father’s Day gifts. For the rest of us, there is hope.  The possibilities are endless. We are always a work in progress.

Today is Father’s Day, and I’m remembering my father. Love you, Daddy.

 

Mothers In Law Need Friends!

Family and friends can make a positive difference in our quality of life. Having someone to confide in and laugh with is one of life’s greatest joys. Friends span a wide spectrum, from beloved family members to childhood buddies to people from work, school or special interest groups. They come in all sizes, shapes, sexual orientations and colors — with unlimited talents and interests.

Learning from one another is a natural process that starts early. As kids, we watched our friends and older siblings tie their shoes. Pretty soon, we tied our shoes too!

Nancy and her brother, enjoying a Tea Party, on a catsup-box table

Nowadays, schools, colleges and businesses encourage collaboration and teamwork because it’s an efficient and enjoyable way to learn and solve problems. Do you ever feel like a solitary sponge, absorbing life’s nitty-gritty sorrows and joys? Have you struggled with a problem but after discussing it with a relative or friend, you felt relieved? That’s the beauty of friendship.

Family & Friends will focus on people helping people — instead of stories about people criticizing, antagonizing, hurting and even killing one another.  The daily news and reality TV shows are saturated with enough sensationalism, and we won’t add to it. How are your friends or family members making a meaningful difference in your life? Has a stranger ever been a good samaritan to you? That’s what we want to hear — untold stories about friendship and common decency. Where have they gone?! Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Everyone has a unique approach to making friends. Maybe you have a knack for it or maybe not. Whether you’re a mother-in-law who cultivates many different friends or only a select few, join us here for enlightening stories, suggestions and photos that will spark friendly connections. Be yourself. Relax. We hope you’ll check out Family and Friends and meet other friendly mothers-in-law right here!

 

Meeting Awkward In-Laws

Weddings can bring out the best or worst in people – including awkward in-laws, who are meeting for the first time.

Dinner after the Bridal Shower

Although our adult children may be completely in love with each other, it doesn’t mean that their parents will immediately hit it off.  Let’s face it. We are excess baggage being dragged into their new marriage. The lifestyles and personalities of future in-laws may not mesh. The film, Meet the Fockers, depicts how two distinctly different families meet — and pretty soon, chaos breaks loose! The movie has hilarious moments, and maybe that’s the key to happy outcomes – maintaining a sense of humor!

It makes sense for in-laws to try and get along, right from the get-go — unless there’s some insurmountable, emotionally-charged barrier. Usually, that’s not the case. Most often, small miscommunications crop up and quickly resolve. The majority of in-laws have good intentions. Once we get to know each other, we typically find some common values and interests. At the very least, we can credit ourselves with having shaped our children in such a way that they discovered each other and fell in love. That’s a wonderful achievement to share!

Wedded Bliss

Amazing mothers-in-law are mature women who are loved and respected for many qualities, including their ability to open lines of communication and to nurture family relationships – not jeopardize them. Our mission is not to blame, shame or complain! Instead, themothersinlaw.com will feature success stories, comments and suggestions from those who have maneuvered the confusing, wedding process with happy results. Let’s Talk Weddings! is the ideal place to discuss the do’s and don’ts, share experiences, and learn important tips from experts in the biz.  If you click on the Fashions tab of themothersinlaw.com, you’ll even find wedding apparel for mothers-in-law of the bride. (The tired, beige dress is out – and the chic, knockout is in!)

So let’s accept that our kids are grown-ups, creating a new life together. It’s time to back off and let them call the shots. If they make occasional mistakes, they’ll learn from them – just like we did!