Strong women series: Wanda, mother-in-law

There is a stereotype about mothers-in-law and how they make life difficult for their daughters-in-law. In fact, that movie Monster-in-Law is about that very thing. This stereotype is most definitely not the case with mine. I adore this woman. I can’t remember exactly when John took me to meet Wanda for the first time, but I know that I was already deeply in love with him at that point… but that’s not saying much because it only took a matter of a couple of weeks (if that long, truth be told) for me to fall completely head over heels for him.

But that’s a post for a different day.

I had only met her a couple of times when I started going to her house to visit her on my own, without John. Some might be tempted to think that I was just trying to kiss-up to the boyfriend’s mom. The truth is, I just really enjoy her company.

You can kind-of tell about a guy by the way he treats his mother and/or his sisters. John was extremely caring and close to his mom and sisters when we met. There was respect, of course, but there existed such an ease with all of them. Of course, him being the baby of the family, they just thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. He really had three “moms” looking after him at all times. And having married the “baby” of the family, I suddenly became the “baby sister” by extention… and being the “big sister” in my own family, that took some time of adjustment.

But that’s a post for a different day, too. 🙂

She looks an awful lot like Maxine from those greeting cards, doesn’t she?

More to the point, the thing that struck me the most about John and his mom, Wanda, is that they laugh together. A lot. He will say the most outrageous things to her, and she just laughs. And that is the thing I admire most about Wanda. She has had a challenging life to say the least (I’m not going to air all her life story here, you’ll just have to take my word for it), but despite the hardships and trials and setbacks, she takes such joy in life. Particularly her children and her grandchildren. She laughs and giggles more than anybody I know.

She is older than what my grandmother would be if she were still alive, but Wanda has always been ahead of her time. She is young at heart, and probably always has been.

She is independent. Progressive. Liberated.

She never met a stranger. She always finds a way to find the common ground with any person she meets. She flirts with her cardiologist–a fact that I find hysterical. I LOVE that I can call her up and tell her a dirty joke and she’ll just laugh and laugh. She gets such a kick out of the stories we tell her about her grandchildren when they are naughty.

And, oh, her grandchildren. Wanda cherishes youth. She cherishes it with both her heart and her hands. And she is so free with her love and her appreciation for her family and friends. She is incredibly warm, and honestly, she took me in as a daughter long before her son married me.

She is a precious, precious woman and I am so grateful to have her in my life.

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