Quoting eMiLy

Living with a mother-in-law can be a challenge to put it kindly. I've lived with mine for 3 years now
*EDIT* Actually, she has lived with us (and that is an important difference!)
~and with medication and intense counseling I feel I have dealt with it somewhat reasonably.

I know there are those who love their mil's, and then there are those who would murder them if there was even the slightest possibility of getting away with it. I reside somewhere between love and murder depending on the phase of the moon and day of the week. Most times it's well balanced diet of tolerance, you just have to know how to keep it to a healthy loathing.

Lately I've taken to calling her eMiLy, it's much easier to type and safer to discuss, especially in mixed company. And so she will be referred to as thus from here on out.

eMiLy and I haven't always shared this delicate dance of mil vs. dil. In the very beginning - the first 3o minutes or so - before she took off her mask and revealed she was s...well, never mind. Back then, it was pretty good. But somewhere the romance took a downhill turn and it's never been the same.

Some moments stay with you making you long for back then. Like when I would go outside to work in the flowerbed, she would come out and watch over me and I would feel her presence like a big itchy blanket in the summer heat. We would have such deeply bonding moments back then. Moments when she would share her heart. Once while looking at one of my plants she said, "My friend has one of those like that, you know, except it's pretty."
Those are precious moments you can't buy anywhere.

I know it's hard to believe but before I married her son she wasn't too happy that I was to become the next Mrs. Moya. Most mothers aren't happy about the prospect of losing their son to another woman and she was no exception to the rule. But with time, coffee and a few empanadas her heart was won over. I eventually became good enough to bear his children. Good thing, since I had already given him two. And I know that she knows the pretty genes were grown on my side of the family tree. I know this because she is forever telling me "No matter how big you are you still look so pretty." When she loves on me like that, it makes me question why it's not the same between us. I know that she truly thinks of me as a vital member of the family. Once while sharing a prayer request about a family situation, she shared this bit of wisdom with us us "You can't replace family, you can get new a wife anytime." Yep, she hearts me. She really, really hearts me. Why just the other day my husband bought me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, she asked where they came from and when I told her that Jesse bought them for me you know what she said to me? She said "Well. That's o.k.." She was probably dancing on the inside!

She says that a lot. "That's o.k." As if at 50 and 41 years of age, 6 children and 15 years of marriage we somehow need to have a mother's blessing. Or a mother for that matter.

"Mijo, do you want me to make your coffee?"
No mom, I think I can get that.
"That's o.k."

"Mija, take your sweater with you, it's cold in your office."
eMiLy, I am a grown woman.
"Well, that's o.k."

There is a definitive difference between a mother and a mom. I will always need my mom, I have not - since an age I can't remember - needed a mother. I don't get the battle that rages on between us. It's strange and normal all at once. All it takes is the slightest comment from her and I gather my battle gear. A mere straightening of my couch pillows and my childish insecurities come back to haunt me. One word, one look, one silly hmmph, is all it takes and off I go into the age old war of women past. But my eMiLy and me, we will keep on going. And to quote her that's o.k.

I know some of you reading this are soon to be married. To that I say: Dear Lord, bless these women with a mom-in-law, not a mother-in law, or, a mother-of-all, or a mother-is-law, or worse, D. all of the above. One day I might even be one myself and I hope to be a good mil, one that doesn't provoke her dil/sil to hire a hit-man for $10,000 and then at the trial the jury will empathize with the sob story of hell she/he has lived and will find them innocent letting them go on an insanity plea and then, then my grandchildren will be raised by a hate-filled murderer who would never tell them of their most beloved grandmother - or something like that. That's what always happens in those Lifetime movies.


  1. Oh Dana! I can't even tell you my thoughts about MILs. I don't even have one yet and I'm not entirely looking forward to it! John is the onyl boy and he is the baby! Woo hoo!

    (Dear Lord..help me!)

  2. You were one of the people I had in mind. I feel your pain and trepidation! Tread firmly and carry a big security blanket! :)

  3. I think mine is definitely a "Mother"-in-law, either that or a mother-of-all. I love her, but sometimes I have to bite my tongue really, really hard!

  4. Carissa! I think I've pierced my tongue several times over biting mine. I love my eMiLy as well, I just have a hard time living with her...:)

  5. I used to love to watch Everybody Loves Raymond, because Raymond's mother was so much like my mil - it was uncanny! It was at least good to laugh - because if you didn't laugh - I'd just be crying!

    She told my mom at the wedding that she always thought that her (my mom's) girls would always be skinny. Well, my sister is skinny and then there's me. Hmmm...I don't know who she would be talking about! For the last 30 years, it has been challenging to say the least!

    Thanks - we can share stories!


  6. my mil is typically really great. she just has a pretty subtle way of informing me that no one is good enough for her son. like the mother's day card i received: you're special to us, not because of who you married, but because of who you are.

    that's really sweet, but she wrote in addition: "and also because of who you married."

    gee. i thought i was pretty good before i met your son. it's the same me. i don't think marrying him made me all that much more special.

  7. LMS - I never really paid attention to Everybody Loves Raymond until eMiLy moved in with us. Then it became one of the funniest shows I ever watched...

    Court - I've been told that too.."I only love you because he loves you." "Oh eMiLy, ME TOO!"

  8. My mil is really sweet, but doesn't get me at all. She doesn't have a sense of humor and I don't think I have ever heard her laugh. So if you know me, I say stuff all the time and she questions what I say. I used to say it is a joke, but now I say never mind. The other thing she says all the time is I don't know. That is her first response to anything...I don't know, then she gives the answer.

    I always remember the verse, he who finds a wife finds a good thing and OBTAINS favor from the Lord. He is getting favor he didn't have before having a wife.

  9. Amen Reverend Nancy! Thanks for the word, I will remember that!

  10. Oh, please stop. My sides hurt, I've laughed so much. What a wonderful entry. I didn't ever meet my MIL and I am D-I-V-...well, you know the song. But I know a family member like this. Too funny. The comment about 'Lifetime' movies- wow, yes.

    Oh. And my Mommie called it goulash, too. Or slumgullion, which if you look that up in a dictionary- eewe! Actually, it was like the forerunner to "Hamburger Helper" ala a woman who was the 13th child of the family and was raised in a Masonic orphanage. You stretches whats ingredients you gotts! Hey, I'd eat it 3 X's/day if she were only here to fix it. Sigh.

  11. Oh my gosh. I followed a link here from Courtney's blog, and I have to say that this entry had me stifling laughs at my desk at work. I mean, tears nearly came. But, you know, "that's ok."

  12. Uh-oh! Did your MIL have a sister living in KS 20 yrs ago? Sooo reminds me of my former MIL (Lord bless her- please) every barb dipped in chocolate sauce- didn't speak to me for 10 yrs after the big D, until he married one even more dreadful then me :P
    I think there is an extra-special room in your Heavenly mansion to reward you for living so joyfully with your particular "thorn in your side"- bet it has all sorts of cool stuff & a big old whirlpool bathtub (you know, the kind that fills up far enough to totally cover you with water & multiple jet sprays)
    I lived with my current MIL for the first year of our marriage (her house) & was fortunate to have a great relationship with her (but it's better to live in separate house now :P)


and remember, words are my love language...