Oh, brother. Am I right? Mother-in-laws (insert large overly-dramatic sigh).

Why do some many women have issues with their husband's mothers? And mothers with their daughters-in-law for that matter? I understand that the navigation of such relationships can be fraught with miscommunications, unclear expectations, unreasonable expectations, etc...but sadly, I feel like this is looked upon as one of the most tense relationships on the planet, when it should be seen as a tremendous blessing.

Please, understand that I fully admit that we cannot all have perfect relationships...we are human and in being so, we are broken and bring baggage to every interaction. But I feel like 80% (a figure that I have completely made up and have no scientific basis for) of all mother-daughter (in-law) relationships can be (dare I say it?) GOOD.

I am blessed with a pretty amazing momma-in-law.

I'm not sure she she has always been crazy about me (I was 22 and Matt was 19 when we began dating), but she has always welcomed me, talked with me, prayed for me, and pursued relationship with me...and I hope that I have done the same with her. I love her.

Let me tell you about this lady.

She's up for (almost) anything:
She has taught every child in her family (nieces, nephews, etc) how to water ski. She even tried teaching me (which was an epic disaster). One of our first trips together was a weekend kayaking adventure...where only one person in our group had kayaked before and another was terrified of water. It was memorable.

She is caring.
Whether it's  was checking in on me when I got sick off of duck (true story) while staying at her house or flying out to stock my freezer full of meals as we expected our second baby, she's pretty much ready to help. And it's not just because it's me....she is that way to everybody.

She has the best laugh ever.
Her one quirk is that she laughs uncontrollably when people get hurt (minor hurts) or even when she imagines an incident when people have gotten comically injured (like my husband stubbing his toe - it happens a lot). It's pretty funny. Her laugh is really infectious and I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel the least bit proud the first time I got her signature laugh out of her with some off-hand comment. She loves to laugh and I think most people love hearing it.

She is a really great Canasta partner.
I don't think we have EVER won a single game as Canasta partners. But we relish in blatant "talking over the table," annoying our opponents with gospel hymns (the equivalent of canasta psychological warfare), and politely trash-talking Grandma...who never loses.

She loves.
She loves her family. She loves my husband. She loves my babies. She loves me...and we all know it. There is no doubt. Loves exudes from this lady when we are around and it is a comfort and overwhelming joy to us.

She is godly.
Ask anyone who has met her. That's the first thing they will say. Her sweet and gentle spirit is obvious and her faith in God is undeniable.

We are NOT exactly alike. But we definitely love each other. I think that's where a lot of the daughter/mother (in-law) relationships go askew.

My husband's mother is his mother...and I see the things I love about him in her. He didn't choose me to be his mother. He chose me to be his wife. Very different roles, but both incredibly necessary. So, don't try to be your mom-in-law. Just be you. BUT Respect and appreciate your second momma - because she did something right.

The power and support that can result from two women (three women if you count your momma/his mother-in-law) coming together and praying, lifting up, encouraging a man is AWESOME and something to be reckoned with.

So....let's put the whole myth of mother-in-law aside and just pursue what God has done and is doing.

Jane. I love you. Happy Birthday.

(Larry, you are also amazing and I will try to write something as equally uplifting on your birthday. I know you don't want to be left out of this gushing over the in-laws mess of mine)

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