The M.I.L

My mother-in-law is coming to spend the week with us in just a few days. To prepare for her visit I've completely rearranged 1/3 of the furniture in the entire house, scrubbed the kitchen cabinets twice, cleaned the dust bunnies from behind the couch and eaten a pack of tums.

What is the secret power of the mother-in-law (or M.I.L)? I am a lucky wife with a mother-in-law without a daughter. Actually, she has spent much of her adult life in a house with three men. For that reason, I sympathize with her. She deserves so much credit for surviving in a world of jock straps, Playboy magazines under mattresses and being called "crazy" for exhibiting moodiness and other emotions. I suppose those years of manly inundation entitle her to now be the Queen Bee. And in the colony I am the smallest, weakest, least important worker bee. I can buzz, buzz around frantically doing my job and the bigger bees buzz right over me on their way to gain the approval from the Queen. In this situation, I am the bee that, as a youth, my brother would have brought to a slow death by placing on the point of a cactus. Wings fluttering. Buzz, buzz, buzzzzzzzzz.

My mother, who can be quite the M.I.L (sounds bad that way, doesn't it?) herself, has given me the very best advice in navigating through D.I.L-hood. Just shut your mouth. As the D.I.L you are in a catch-22 where you get all the pains of a family but absolutely no opinion. And there is no forgive-and-forget as an in-law. Everyone remembers what the D.I.L did back in '74 at Christmas. And that outfit she had on, what a tramp!

Nobody is ever good enough for Momma's baby boy. No woman can cook, clean or comfort her boy as well as she can. Fine, take him back. You can fold his damn laundry and listen to him ask, "This is lumpy. Why didn't you just make fish sticks?" after you serve him a casserole that took you two hours to make from scratch.

I should go now. I have to defrost the freezer, reorganize my underwear drawer and alphabetize my recipes.


Anne said…
I like to joke to my DH that his mom is the president of his fan club...I can be VP, but no, I will never be the president...Ah, being married to an only child.

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