Last night a friend and I put on a bridal shower for my soon to be daughter-in-law. When I signed the card for my gift it was a bit of a shock to see "with love, Mom and Dad W" written in my handwriting. That's how my mother-in-law has signed every card to dearest one and I these past 26 years. I suppose until my dying day I'm going to be faced with more and more situations where I ask myself, half jokingly, "Does this mean I'm old now?" Don't get me wrong. The ageing process itself doesn't particularly bother me. Well, other than having wrinkles, grey hair and pimples at the same time.
For the most part I see growing older as a privilege. From my brother Rodney to my friend Ron and my brother-in-law Abe, there have been too many premature deaths in our lives. People I will never stop wondering how they would be if they had had the privilege of ageing.
Every year that goes by though, I understand my mom and mother-in-law a bit better as they reflect on how their body and the age on their driver's licence doesn't jive with their innards. I think the last time my nearly 80 year old mother-in-law and I talked about it, she still feels 18 inside. My mom was a mother-in-law at age 39, a grandmother at 41. I still remember her saying, as my sister-in-law laboured, that she wasn't old enough to be a grandma yet.
Am I ready to be a mother-in-law? Are we ever ready for any stage of our life? It's probably a blessing that they come to us ready or not. I wonder if it isn't more what we do with the stage we find ourselves in than in readiness to be there.
After the bridal shower was over my friend (who will become a mother-in-law one week before me) and I watched the movie Monster-In-Law, starring Jane Fonda as the MIL. I've written before about my experience with my own mother-in-law and no doubt my soon to be daughter-in-law will have her own story to tell one day.
I might envy Jane Fonda's toned arms and flat belly but I have no aspirations to follow her movie role example as a mother-in-law.
Thanks be to God.