I am blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law. In fact, I told my husband the other day, that I consider my mother-in-law, Faye, to be one of my best friends. Let me tell you a little about why I feel this way about her.
In 1992, Dave and I were told that our one year old twins had cerebral palsy. About two years later, they were both scheduled to be fitted for wheelchairs. I stayed with them at the University of Iowa Hospitals while Faye stayed at home with our other two children.
On the day we arrived in Iowa City, I was so burdened down with sorrow I felt like I could hardly function. I remember being shown a catalog of wheelchairs and then somehow found myself sitting on the floor crying. I knew wheelchairs were something that had to be done, that this would be best for them, but the deep feeling of grief can hardly be described.
The kids and I stayed there that week while they were being measured, fitted, and re-measured for their wheelchairs. We came home for the weekend and then returned the next week for another few days. At night, when I finally got them both to fall asleep, I would sit and look out the window at a clock on the campus grounds, and wonder if things would ever get better. It felt like there was no place I could put this weight of pain that I was carrying around.
Finally, we returned back home at Teen Challenge. We pulled into the driveway and I remember asking Dave if somehow he could put the wheelchairs somewhere that I wouldn't have to look at them for a while. We lived in a pretty small place, but somehow, after putting the kids down, he was able to place them out of my direct line of vision. I laid down for a while in the back bedroom and listened to the sounds of conversation in the house. I could hear Faye in the kitchen making supper for us and our children's voices. When I walked into the kitchen and saw Faye making meatballs and talking with Dave, I felt comforted. It felt like the heaviness lifted a little, and that everything would be okay. I'm sure Faye probably hugged me and cried. That would be the thing that she would have done. But to tell you the truth, the details of that day are a little foggy. All I really remember is that her presence in our home at that time made so much difference in my pain filled mind.
Just a short few months later, Faye just "happened" to be spending the night at our home when Alex, one of our twins, suddenly went to be with the Lord. She stayed back with our other children while I climbed into an ambulance with Alex in the early morning hours, and Dave drove to the emergency room. She was waiting for us when we arrived back home later that morning alone.
There have been many instances like this one in my life. She has been there through thick and thin with Dave and I. I don't remember when I stopped looking at her as just "mother-in-law" and started looking at her as "friend", but that is what happened. You may feel like you don't have a lot in common with your husband's mom, but this is where you need to become creative and find the areas where you have shared interests. After all, you married her son and that is a good starting place. Sometimes it just starts with a decision that you make. It can really start with you.
Faye has taught me a lot by her example. When everyone else around her wondered if one of her sons would ever turn his life around, she never doubted. She always believed. It reminds me of a book I read a few years ago where a lady went to heaven and asked about the thrones she saw lining a wall. She was told they belonged to the praying mothers. I can't find anything in the Bible that supports that, but I wouldn't be surprised either!
Honoring your mother-in-law really isn't an option. Praise her to your children and set aside times to have fun with her. Speak to others of all the good things that you see in her. Someday, you and I will be the "mother-in-law"and what we have sown, we will reap. I want to reap a good relationship with my someday daughter-in-laws and sons-in-law, but it starts now.
|Ice skating with Grandma|
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