I never thought I would be living on the North Dakota prairie just minutes away from my husband’s parents but the past seven years have proven to be full and rewarding because of the role my father-in-law and mother-in-law have played in our everyday lives.
Today is my mother-in-law, Carol’s birthday. Tonight we will celebrate with some grilling, leftovers from Easter and more birthday cake. We celebrated this past Saturday when my sister-in-law and my family visited for Easter. I snapped a few pictures with Nathan, his sister, Dr. Lori, my in-laws, Eldon and Carol and our three kids.
I have heard horror stories from friends on demanding and critical mother-in-laws. Those that never quite let go that their beloved child has left the nest to start a new home and family.
I married a beloved son. He is a shining jewel in his family and now ours. His training came from a strong mother, who now is a strong grandmother and mother-in-law.
What makes her a strong mother-in-law and grandmother?
First, Carol doesn’t criticize me . I do things different than her. But she doesn’t seem to mind or at least doesn’t tell me, thankfully. She loves and accepts me for who I am. She doesn’t come over too often but when she does she is there to help, bring warm rolls or buns, help babysit or to care for a sick child.
There have to be times when she has bit her tongue with me, her strong-willed daughter-in-law. But rather than criticize, she encourages me. She never has told me to not be a working mom and never once has told me to be a stay-at-home mom. She has let me find my own path.
In the midst of me finding my own path with my career and in motherhood, she has enriched my life, my husband’s and most importantly, our children’s’ lives.
Secondly, Carol has her house open to us anytime and I know is willing to help. The kids visit her house almost daily which is just across from our local small town school. When my business travel was stretching me too thin, she cooked for our family weekly. When our babies were so little, she cared for them a few days a week. She still cares for our kids weekly, like preparing Hunter his favorite meals on every basketball game day from November through February as well as throughout the year.
Thirdly, Carol doesn’t try to be my mother. She focuses mostly on being the best grandma she can be to our kids. She makes our life so much easier!
With our girls, she plays, reads, bakes, paints toenails, fingernails and lets the girls play “Beauty Shop” on her. This Spring, I am helping coach high school track. Miss E walks to her house for an afternoon snack and Carol sits and does homework with her.
The other day I dropped off Anika to bake cookies with her. Our kids know Carol as an active role model and friend.
Carol as a mother-in-law makes me a better mom and wife. Through her example she shows the importance of having a strong behind the scenes, stable, active role model. She never seeks glory or glamour. She is just always there for her family.
Carol listens. She loves. She is a constant in our lives. She holds us all accountable, pushes at times to achieve our goals and never discourages.
Happy Birthday Carol/ Nana! We love you and are forever thankful for all that you do for us.