The Mother-in-Law
7:29 AM |

Unless you know her already, you need to hear about my future mother-in-law. She is such a character, it’s almost too good for primetime. She never ceases to entertain me, and usually everyone around me.
My first encounter with her was when my new boyfriend yelled from the couch if she could bring him some of the cookies she’d just baked. I was shocked, visibly, as I looked at him with mouth open and a questioning expression. At my house, if we wanted something, we got up off the couch and got it ourselves. I expected her to come in with a defeated, sad look on her face, answering to his beck and call. Instead, she came in smiling and laughing at how lazy he was.
Things like this became common in his house. The most extreme instance of her voluntary servitude was at one of boyfriend’s high school basement parties, when he yelled up the stairs about 11 o’clock at night, “Hey mu-um? Can you make us some brownies?” She did! I couldn’t believe it!
Eventually, I have come to realize that when she laughs things off, she generally means it. Of course, I have seen other household members cross the line and berate her, and that makes me sad. Her as well, probably. But after years of visiting there, interviewing her for high school assignments, and talking with her on the phone (and over tea, dinner, projects, etc.) I have come to understand that she is who she is.
She talks to people all day long, although it beats me how she understands them as they reply with their mouths open and filled with dental cleaning tools, because she is a dental hygienist. I have had people come up to me at the mall, the gym, everywhere to ask, “Oh are you ___? My dental hygienist talks about you all the time!” She is quite petite and is just finishing up her second attempt at the L.A. fitness weight loss plan, which unfortunately seems to involve eating lots of lettuce, and drinking lots of water. She wears her curly red hair tied back in a ponytail and has the girl version of fiancé’s eyes. She’s a great baker and cook, a tireless launderer, cleaner and organizer, and like me, she makes good use of each day’s 24 hours. Saturdays, you can usually find her perusing the aisles of Costco or out on a trek to 12 different stores to compare prices on a new lamp before she buys it.
I’ve seen her nearly keel over laughing, talk to the dogs and seemingly hear them reply when she thinks I can’t hear her, cry during family tragedies, come in sweating after a long walk in the ravine behind her house, and fall asleep on the floor at 9 o’clock in the middle of a movie.
She is quite the funny lady, of a breed I had never met before. I have never had any qualms or hesitations about entering their family because she is just so funny, and definitely the rock holding everyone together. From the moment she wakes up early to prepare he husband and son’s lunches, to the wee hours of the morning she spends baking pies before a family get together, she has proven herself a matriarch worth respecting.