By Brenda Brissette Mata
As of last month, my twin sons are married. Both waited until they were in the third decade of life to tie the knot, or knots, as it were.
After the most recent wedding someone joked about having me for a mother-in-law and I suddenly remembered, years ago, during the question and answer period of a guest-speaking engagement that someone asked me what I thought I’d be like as a mother-in-law.
At the time, the twins were barely teens, the idea of them being married was as foreign as Donald Trump running for President. Besides, I was too busy trying to get them to clean their bathroom, do their homework and not kill each other.
I remember saying that I hoped I would be a fine mother-in-law, although I hadn’t given it much thought.
Time flew by, as it is wont to do, and I don’t think I spent any time at all worrying about when, or if, they’d marry.
Then suddenly I was a mother-in-law – twice. Now I have to think about what kind of mother-in-law I am or should be. There’s a zillion jokes, and now I’m one.
The biggest joke is about the interfering mother-in-law. I don’t want to interfere. So I try. I mean I try not to, although on occasion I must confess I find some of those “mother-in-law” things coming out my mouth before I can stop them.
“Well, when he was a little boy he always….”
“Oh, he never eats…”
“But he never used to like wearing …”
“Let me get that for him, I know how he likes it…”
OK, I’m kidding about that last one. I’d actually hand each daughter-in-law a bat if that were true. But it’s hard, for the vast majority of their life so far, I’ve been the Alpha female. Now I have to step back.
As adults they have their own lives, make their own mistakes, determine their successes. Parents just lay the foundation.
I do find that when I consciously interfere it is often on behalf of the daughters-in-law, reminding these women that I raised sons who should not expect to be waited on.
And honestly, I have to admit it’s kind of fun having girls around. I guess it’s true, I really didn’t lose a son(s) – I gained a (two) daughter(s). And I like them. They are smart and funny, strong and independent. They love my sons and I’ve gained friends.
Probably need to get a few more year’s experience at this mother-in-lawing thing before I have a real handle on it. But I did have an excellent example. My mother-in-law has always been a wonderful friend. I confide in her, I count on her and I know she’s got my back.
With any luck I’ll earn that same respect. Maybe in a couple years I’ll ask them to grade me, but for now I give myself a B+ (leaving room for improvement).
Brenda Brissette Mata is a former longtime columnist for The Flint Journal. Brenda’s column will appear here every Monday until she gets sick of writing them. Or gets pissed at Andy. The latter is more likely.