I really hate to bake-it's a lot of work, and it rarely turns out well for me. My cookies are like frisbees, my cakes always fall and stick to the non-stick pans, my brownies are like chocolate volcanoes on the inside and bricks on the outside, I have never tried a pie, and baking breads or rolls sound less appealing to me than the word speculum. My Mother In Law is an incredibly good baker-that should tell me right there that I have no shot. She and I are so different, it comes as no surprise that she has mastered something I can barely make edible on a good day. This is not to say I don't like my Mother In Law; just that we are different.
She is actually an excellent MIL. I don't have another one to compare to, but I know both she and my own mother had terrible ones, so I totally appreciate the difference. For example, she has NEVER imposed her will or abused her influence over her son to meet her needs as her own mother in law has always done. Her mother in law once wrote her a letter completely renouncing Catholicism-which is how my MIL was raised; she also made her name her first born (my husband) a hideous name-Millard. My poor husband has gone by his middle name his entire life-and my MIL would love to see him legally change it. She once said to me that she had hoped to never be that kind of mother in law. And she has succeeded. I could not ask for a better one. She has always been very hands off-and very respectful of Paul and me-even when we do things that just make her scratch her head. She has been so helpful and supportive all these years-but never over steps it. I have seen the mama's boy syndrome in many of the men I know, or the men my friends/family married. It is not the case with my husband-and that is a giant credit to this great lady.
And I am sure I drive her crazy-I am her opposite in so many ways. I am super outgoing and overly talkative; terribly unorganized and unstructured; messy, forgetful, impulsive, emotional and expressive. I bet when she met me-almost 18 years ago-she just rolled her eyes. When we told her we were getting married, she thought we were pregnant. Probably because I was her worst nightmare.
However, over the years, we have really grown together. I used to be so uncomfortable around her, like I could never please her. Despite the litany of things we do not share, we do share a huge love for our family. She is an exceptional mother and amazing grandmother. And she has been able to put aside things about me that have to feel like finger nails on a chalkboard to her, and become my friend anyway.
We both love to make fun of our husbands-and their ridiculous over eating habits. We love to discuss recipes, she has gotten me addicted to Philosophy and Bare Escentuals products, she gives the best gifts-new flatware, dishes, the best Kitchen Aid hand mixer ever, my favorite sweater, to name a few. She watches my boys 2 days a week-which has made it possible for me to work and never have to put my kids in daycare. I am forever indebted to her for that gift. My house is cleaner when I get home than when I left it-despite my 2 sons (and her son/husband) messing it up all day. I doubt she realizes I notice that because I often forget to mention it. She is such a blessing in so many ways. She gives so much, and never asks for anything in return. She is so understated and unassuming.
I used to just see the things about her I did not understand because we were such opposites. But now, I see such a wonderful lady, full of incredible talents and gifts. I have learned so much from her, and I continue to all the time. I love her with all my heart.
I hear terrible stories all the time about the families people marry into. And while I don't seem like a perfect fit for the one I married into, it is perfect for me.