My husband is the only child of my late mother-in-law. This woman was quite a piece of work. Just for reference, my husband and I eloped, and my MIL and her husband threw a party in our honor the following weekend. At this party, one of the first things MIL made a point of telling me was that she would “always love Sally” — my husband’s ex-wife whom he had divorced 7 years before (no children).
I had already met Sally once and liked her, and since these people were my new in-laws, I took the high road and said I didn’t blame MIL at all for liking Sally so much. But the comment stung and even though it WAS her party, I thought it unnecessary and unkind of her to say such a thing to me first off.
After our 3 children were born, we had a tradition of visiting MIL and her husband on Christmas Day, and MIL’s hubby always prepared a nice little brunch. Their home was always nicely decorated, and a sprinkling of gifts under a beautiful Christmas tree. MIL always gave her son and each of our 3 children Christmas cards containing a generous amount of cash, and the children usually also received a gift from under the tree.
Our gift to MIL was always nicely framed current portraits of each child, plus a couple of pretty jars of brandied cherries or peaches that I canned myself (we were quite broke in those days).
Her gift to me was always in a gift box printed with a high-end department store’s name and a store gift-wrap bow. Inside the box was either a sweater or a homemade item (and she was definitely NOT the knit-crochet type) that she had obviously re-gifted. MIL was blonde and blue-eyed – I’m a brunette with dark eyes, and the gifted item invariably had no tags, was more suited to her coloring, usually with slightly pilled-up area at the shoulder where you might carry your bag. Another year, it was a kind of ugly homemade crochet vest made of brightly-colored granny squares just like the ones in the afghan on my grandmother’s sofa.
I always thanked her for the beautiful sweater (or whatever) and wore it the rest of the time we were there. Then I would make a point of wearing it the next time I knew we would see her/them. Actually, the granny-square vest paired with a white turtle neck and black skirt didn’t look half-bad — at least that particular gift looked new.
The sweet kicker is that MIL finally passed away in 2010, and left a train carload of money to her only child! Yeah, now every year is a Merry Christmas!! 0101-16