My Mother-in-Law Is Coming Today

My mother-in-law comes today and I could not be more excited. People think I’m being sarcastic when I say, “My mother-in-law is coming and I’m really excited.” No matter how much feeling I put into the sentence, they think I’m being over-the-top smart-alecky. I told that to someone recently and they said, “Tsk. Diane, that’s mean.”

But I really, seriously can’t wait for her to get here. I have the best mother-in-law, hands down. The word mother-in-law has picked up such a negative connotation. I understand why; it’s just that mine doesn’t fit that bill.

I have a whole collection of horror stories about people and their mothers-in-law. Insults, criticisms, faked Alzheimer’s so they could say aloud the horrible, spiteful things they’re thinking about you and get away with it, pitting husbands against their wives, kids against their parents. It’s a messy business. Kids could help by just not getting married, but they’re useless. You can’t rely on kids to solve this.

Here are a couple of examples. I won’t mention any names because some of these people read my blog. The names have been changed to protect the innocent from being further ostracized by their husbands’ families.

One friend’s MIL (and that’s short for Mother-in-Law, not part of another saying, you gutter brain) used to come to visit and would spend the whole first day scrubbing kitchen cabinets. I’m talking up on a ladder with rubber gloves and a scrub brush. The outsides of the cabinets and that little shelf thing right under the ceiling, whose only purpose is to collect all the dust from around the house and store it. “Why clean up there? Who even goes up there?” I asked. “My mother-in-law does,” was the obvious answer.

Somebody else had a mother-in-law who was super old and used to say her innermost thoughts out loud. “Geez, you’d think she could dress the kids a little nicer,” she’d say as she looked at her grandchildren, smiling a sweet grandmotherly grin.

Another woman I know plans these huge parties, the kind that have “fest” or “apalooza” at the ends of their names, invites all her friends and all of her daugher-in-law’s friends and family, and then calls her daughter-in-law and tells her she’s having the party at her house. “I’ll bring rolls,” she says.

My mother-in-law is so great that my kids can’t watch Everybody Loves Raymond without getting all sad. Mean mothers-in-law are just not funny to them. They feel sorry for Deborah and the kids. It’s pretty bad when you watch a comedy and want to go do volunteer work.

I tell my sisters-in-law that we could all take lessons from our husbands’ mom. She claims she doesn’t have any reason to snipe at us, but we all know better. She may punch pillows at the end of every day that she sees us.

I’ve decided it’s my mother-in-law who I want to travel with after my husband retires. She’s also who I’d most like to have visit me in the nursing home.

When my mother-in-law gets here today, the first thing we’ll do is open up a bottle of wine. She’ll be the one who says, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” She’ll go shopping with me and tell me I look fantastic in everything I try on. She’ll bake pies but only if they don’t mess up what I’ve already planned. She’ll laugh at my jokes, she’ll let my dog lick her knees, she’ll compliment me on my house decor and all of my recent decisions, from coloring my hair to not caring that I’m wearing low-rise jeans with high-top underwear.

Good lord, I have two sons. How am I ever going to keep up such a tradition?