This photo is from the bathroom of my mother-in-law. Both the vase and the paper-cut were purchased at my shop, years before she was my mother-in-law. Both were made by artists I have not heard from in years. This bathroom is a good reminder to me of the passing of time, the way life changes, and the constancy of beauty.
Mothers-in-law have a bad rap. They are often considered to be busy-bodies, more interested in telling their daughters-in-law what to do than in really connecting. They are seen as controlling, interfering, and annoying.
This version of mother-in-law has not been my experience.
I have been blessed with more than one mother-in-law-- an unexpected perk of getting divorced that no one ever talks about is this reality of having multiple out-law families. My own mothers-in-law have been wonderful women-- smart, capable, strong, and interesting-- each with her own personality and way of being but each incredibly warm and inclusive of me in their lives and families-- for which I have been grateful. I have been blessed to have gained-- through my romantic relationship with their sons--women I can look up to, learn from, and emulate.
My current mother-in-law is no different-- she is fun and smart and highly entertaining to spend time with. When her son and I were first together, she welcomed me warmly into her family. She sends me encouraging text messages when she knows I am having a challenging work week. She calls me-- and maybe we just talk about the weather-- but those calls often feel timed to happen at just the moment I need to hear from her. We share a love of cleaning and of thrift and we can quite quickly clear the room of everyone else when we get talking on those subjects-- without even noticing they have gone. She was also divorced at a young age-- and we share both the experience of single parenting, and the experience of finding our true loves when we were a little bit older. Perhaps most importantly we share a common love and understanding of her son-- a bond that will carry us through whatever comes.
She is in the hospital right now-- this woman who I am proud to claim as mother (in-law)-- and doing it with such grace. No kidding-- you should see her gorgeous red toenails! And again I am reminded of the way life changes, and of the constancy of beauty-- and of all that I have to learn from this woman.
Thank you, Betty.