Tag Archives: love

Let’s be awesome mothers-in-law and grandmothers!

Have you ever considered . . . that being an awesome mother-in-law is key to being a loving (and well-loved) grandmother?  I was just reflecting on this today as I hugged my 4-year-old grandson and 11-month-old granddaughter.  I would never damage my relationship with them by being rigid, intolerant — or any of the nasty labels applied to mothers-in-law.  I make my fair share of motherly blunders, that’s for sure — but I keep trying to be a better person.

When a mother-in-law grandmother respects her daughter-in-law or son-in-law, it makes for happier grandchildren.  Strong relationships are enduring sources of emotional well being.  Children are perceptive creatures.

A perceptive creature!
A perceptive creature!

My brother and I recall being the least favorite grandchildren — or at least we felt that way,  growing up.  My mother and her mother-in-law (my grandmother) had a strained relationship, and the angst definitely filtered down to us.  Looking back, we now understand the dynamics, but it was tough to understand as children who received little affection from our grandmother.  Our mother was actually the source of friction, and her negativity continued years later when she became a difficult mother-in-law and sadly, a disconnected grandmother.

This morning,  my grandson ran down the stairs to welcome me.  His little face beamed. “I knew you were here Grammy! I saw your shoes hiding in the living room!”  If a 4-year-old can spot his Grammy’s sandals tucked away in an obscure corner, he is capable of observing much more — like how his grandmother and his mother interact.

Discovered in a hidden corner . . .
Uh oh! Little children observe a lot! Wow, are my feet getting bigger?!!

Fortunately, I have a solid relationship with my understanding daughter-in-law. It’s a work in progress based on mutual respect and communication.

For those of us with dual roles as mothers-in-law and grandmothers, it’s important to consider how transparent we are to our perceptive, little ones.  By valuing our daughters-in-law and sons-in-law, we also are cherishing our grandchildren.  Don’t they deserve the very best from all of us?

Yes, A Woman Created Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is June 19, and the hype is underway!  Ads are popping up on traditional and social media, encouraging everyone to find the perfect gift for your perfect Father!  I just received an email prompt to purchase a dad’s holiday in Croatia for my husband.  Whatever happened to crazy ties and comfy socks?

There are so many reminders and suggestions about Father’s Day gifts and gadgets.  Who could possibly forget that Father’s Day is approaching?

But time out!  Let’s consider the impact a mother-in-law had on creating Father’s Day.  The national holiday exists thanks to Sonora Smart Dodd, a passionate daughter, wife, mother — and eventually yes, a mother-in-law.  In addition, she was a student, artist, author, businesswoman and social advocate.

Sonora Smart Dodd
Photo courtesy of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sonora Smart Dodd created Father’s Day.

Dodd was 16 and grief-stricken when her mother, Ellen, died in childbirth.  Dodd overcame her tragic loss and focused her energies on her family — on helping her father and five younger brothers, including a newborn.  At that time in history, many fathers faced with similar circumstances had sent their youngest children away to live with relatives.  Instead, William Smart kept his family intact. Dodd’s love and respect for her dad became the rock-solid foundation for establishing Father’s Day.

Her inspiration blossomed in July 1909, when her minister delivered an impassioned Mother’s Day sermon, more than a year after the first Mother’s Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908.  Dodd decided to advocate for a similar holiday honoring her father and all fathers.  By that time, she was a 27-year-old wife with an infant son.  Despite her youth, Dodd had a seasoned perspective on her father and his challenges as a single parent. She relentlessly championed her Father’s Day effort for more than a year, hoping it would be celebrated on her father’s June 5 birthday.  Finally, local clergy agreed to deliver the first Father’s Day sermon on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.

Could Dodd have predicted, so early on, that she would spend much of her lifetime spearheading a Father’s Day movement? Controversy and political maneuvering related to Dodd’s efforts and Father’s Day continued for more than half a century.  A movement in the 1920’s and 30’s even proposed scrapping both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in favor of a Parents Day.  Who could have guessed that Dodd would have to wait until 1972 when President Nixon officially established Father’s Day as a permanent national holiday to be celebrated each third Sunday of June?

Dodd died in 1978, at age 96, knowing she had accomplished her lifetime goal of honoring fathers.  Sonora Smart Dodd was quite the woman.  She was also a mother-in-law, like many of us.  She passed on a powerful message about the persistence and resilience of love — a much more enduring gift than socks, neckties and trendy technology on Father’s Day!