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Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Place In the Daughter In Law Olympics

Having A Daughter-In-Law





Having A Daughter





A Daughter Of Your Very Own...

Last week, my daughter-in-law was picked up by the local police, right after my daughter-in-law picked up her beloved dog, Abby, to carry her home after a walk a bit too far from home on a 100 degree day. Abby is no lightweight. She is an armful and a heart full.

Just like my daughter-in-law.

The officer saw her struggling down the path and offered a lift home. I know Abby appreciated the lift from the policeman, plus, a ride in a car with a siren on top and flashing lights was truly an exciting end to her day. But if she could talk, she would tell you that if anyone gives her a lift, it would be her Momma.

I feel the same way.

Upstairs, in the little glass cupboard, near the kitchen counter, sits a book my daughter-in-law gave me for Mother's Day. I'll Always Be Your Daughter. I smile every time I see it. I understand completely that she is only on loan to me from her own wonderful Mom. I understand that she is mine only because my son made an exceptional choice in the "love of my life" category. When I am being just a tiny bit smug, I tell myself that I must have raised him well.

My D-I-L is a one and only. 

I can honestly say I have never met anyone like her.

I can honestly say I have never met anyone who did not love her.

Her heart is huge, but when she writes a note or signs a card, she uses a tiny script, and the words are carefully chosen. The marks are deep as though she pressed her pen really hard, to etch the words not just on the paper, but on your heart as well.


She is precious.

I know this word is somewhat old-fashioned, but in this particular case, it is particularly apt.

She possesses the persnickety gene. The conscientious to a fault DNA.


Like I said before. The way she loves her dog is the way she lives her life.

Tenderly and with heart full attention to the tiny details.

I am teaching her to garden. To take seeds and coax them into flowers. She started with seeds in little styrofoam cups that withered in too much sun too early in the season. She took it personally. She does not like to lose. And the thought of causing harm to any living thing makes her ache. So we visited the nurseries, walked amongst the plants and I watched her face. Searching. Searching for something I could not see, but the gardener in me could feel. Searching for the one little plant that needed a good home. Seeking out each petaled face for something special. A piece of garden art that would decorate her yard, that she could tend and nurture, and welcome her home at the end of a long trying day.

There, That's the word I was looking for.


She tries.

Very hard.

At everything.

And she can be very hard on herself when she shoots and misses. But she is a tough competitor. She is in the game to win, but she takes no prisoners. For her, the competition lies within, and once in awhile, the mother-in-law in me wants to say, don't sweat the small stuff, but I bite my tongue, because truth be told, older is not always wiser.

Sometimes, someone can come into your life unexpectedly, and bring you the kind of joy you never knew you needed.

Growing up with brothers and being the mother of two sons, I never realized a piece of me was missing, until I lost my own mother. That irreplaceable connection between a mother and daughter that even I cannot explain. A bond so strong and a love so rare.


Okay so life is not perfect.

Not this M-I-L.

Not my D-I-L.


Only one comes to mind. Her obsession with leftovers. I have watched her eat an apple over a period of weeks. Lovingly taking a bite and then wrapping the rest in plastic wrap and tucking it in the fridge. When I raise an eyebrow at the brown edged mushy fruit in her hand, she merely smiles, takes a puny paring knife, slices off the offending bruise, and says, "See, good as new".

My D-I-L makes me feel "as good as new".

Inside the little book, upstairs in the kitchen cabinet, are the words of dedication she wrote to me.
My wish for each and every one of you, is that someday, somewhere, somehow, someone shows you up as the writer you think you are, with these same gentle thoughts.

From D-I-L to M-I-L:

"You provide me with tenderness when I need it,
 laughter when I've had a rough day,
inspiration when I feel lost,
and motivation when I feel stuck in a rut.
I'm so lucky to have you as a Mother-In-Law.
I thought having one wonderful mother was good luck,
but having two is better than I can imagine."

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