In response, I gave a sympathetic smile and a few words of encouragement, and then thought about my mother-in-law.
The “monster-in-law” sentiment can be an all-too-common scenario for many, and I feel fortunate that it does not ring true for me because I know, it certainly could.
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, in this life it could ring true too — the risk is high especially when you look at the recipe for potential disaster: My husband is an only child. He is close to his mother. She has a very strong personality. So do I.
Admittedly, I was nervous about my husband’s relationship with his mother when we first met, and as things grew more serious between us, I was nervous about what that might mean for me. But I can honestly say that my mother-in-law was a missing puzzle piece in my life. She filled a void that I didn’t even know existed.
Here are just a few reasons that she’s the unsung hero in my life.
- She accepts me for who I am, without judgment.
- She accepts my boys from a previous marriage and loves them like her own.
- She listens to me (read: let’s me vent like a crazy person at times). Sometimes without saying a word. Sometimes offering opinions and observations.
- She respects and gives my husband and me the space we need to be, well, husband and wife. She respects that we are living our lives, and that we’re doing it our way, not her way. She respects and supports our decisions, even when she disagrees.
- She steps in to help any time I need it, with a moments’ notice. Sometimes less. And she’s not local.
- Most importantly, she puts up with my shit; which means she ignores it to a large degree, which — let’s be real here — is not an easy feat. I have a strong, bold personality that can be difficult to take. But she takes it all in, giving me lots of grace along the way.
Truly, she’s an example and an unsung hero in my life. Given that I have two boys, I will likely be a mother-in-law someday, and I’m fortunate that mine models behavior that I can one day emulate.