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My Other Mother

I’ve written about my mother many times here on my blog. I even wrote a whole post about my dad once. But I have yet to write about my other mother – my mother-in-law. Her name is Margaret.

We’ve probably all heard more than a few of those mother-in-law jokes, which are generally in no way, shape or form complimentary. Come to think of it, usually they poke fun at the wife’s mother. Seems to be some sexist element at play there.

My mother-in-law is the best mother-in-law I could ever have hoped for. She has many fine qualities, but above all she is kind, caring, giving and completely non-judgmental, with me anyway. I don’t think we have ever exchanged harsh words, or even anything close to it, in the many, many years that we’ve known each other. And it’s been a lot of years!

My mother-in-law is a wonderful conversationalist. She is more than capable of striking up and carrying on a conversation with just about anyone (even my dad) about just about anything. This is a gift which I do not posses and it’s probably the reason she’s always had a busier social life than I’ve ever had. I’ve always been a little bit envious.

Breast cancer has not left Margaret’s family alone either. Her youngest sister, Jenny, died from metastatic breast cancer about thirty years ago or so. Jenny was only in her fifties at the time of her death. Her breast cancer experience was horrendously awful and Margaret rarely speaks of it. I am going to ask her about that time in her life again sometime soon. I think such things need to be talked about from time to time.

We will not forget.

I’ve never called my mother-in-law mom or mother. I’ve always called her Margaret. This has worked fine for us. She has always been like another mother to me and even more so since my own mother’s death from metastatic breast cancer six years ago.

“You’re the only mother I have left now,” I whispered into Margaret’s ear the day of my mom’s memorial service. She gave me a great big hug, but said nothing. She didn’t need to. There were no words to fit the emotions of that moment anyway. They don’t exist.

Recently the in-law side of my family got together to celebrate Margaret’s 87th birthday. She doesn’t like to be fussed over, even on her birthday, but I’m pretty sure she had a great time. I know I did!


My Other Mother
Happy birthday, Margaret! You’re the best mother-in-law ever!

Do you have a special “other mother” or “other father”?




8 thoughts to “My Other Mother”

  1. Hello Nancy,

    I just read your beautiful words about your mother-in-law. How refreshing to hear kind things about a MIL. I get so tired of the jokes, etc. Since I’m not married, I do not have a MIL, but I observe my friends’ connections with theirs, and it is usually cordial, but not close, which is better than a contentious one I suppose? My own mother and I have, at times, pushed each other’s buttons, but as we both get older, we are having more good times than bad. I wish for you comfort on those rough days when you just want to reach out and talk to your Mom one more time. God Bless You Always…..Myra

    1. Myra, Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad you and your mother are having more good times than bad now. I think most mothers and daughters have pushed each others’ buttons from time to time. And of course, the same can be said about MILs and DILs. Thanks again for your kind words.

  2. I love this post! It is, indeed, refreshing to read complimentary things about a mother-in-law. Mothers-in-law get short shrift in our society — perhaps it is related to sexism.

    Your mother-in-law sounds special indeed. What you whispered in her ear the day of you mom’s memorial service is so moving.

    When I was married, I got along with my mother-in-law. We never fought, and she was always good to me. In fact, I got along with all my in-laws. My mother-in-law died of metastatic lung and throat cancer while I was still married. I miss her. My ex-husband, not so much.

    1. Beth, I’m glad you liked it. I wonder how many mothers-in-law are really ‘awful’? They often get a bad rap that’s for sure. I’m sorry to hear your mother-in-law died of cancer. That’s horrible and of course you miss her. Thanks for reading and sharing about your MIL.

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