Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today my mother in law is celebrating her birthday.
Happy birthday mil!

She enjoys reading my blog so I thought I'd write a little something in her honor. Originally I wanted to include a nice poem or quote to kick things off but do you know what? When I searched for something, what I found in the mil department wasn't very nice. I know some people have difficult relationships with their mils but people also have difficult relationships with their mothers and we still manage to balance the good with the bad there.

What is there to love about a mil?

Well, for starters... she raised #1 son.

Only a year old and he already looks like he'll
give her a run for her money doesn't he?

She also raised #2 son.
And #3 son.
And #1 daughter.

I'm pretty sure if you surveyed the family at large they would all agree that #1 son gets the award for 'most challenging' in the growing up years.

Yeah, that's right.
#1 son belongs to me now.

He is still occasionally challenging.

I appreciate the way my mil raised #1 son. He has a strong personality and she navigated the tricky waters of toddlerhood and the teenage years steadily encouraging, disciplining, teaching and loving her son. She managed to direct all his passions and opinions and determination in a positive direction and the strong willed boy became a highly successful man.

With a big heart.

And a love of life.

He got that from his mom.

Let's talk about loving life...
I've written about my hubs several times,
his boundless energy,
his sense of adventure,
his willingness to try something new.

They say the apple does not fall far from the tree.

My mil is always up for trying something new.
Learning something new.
She is a do-er.

I remember leaving her for an afternoon with my children when they were
young and returning home to find they had painted t-shirts, baked cupcakes
and played endless games of 'hairdresser'.
(Sorry Grandpa!).

She had probably vacuumed my house, emptied the dishwasher,
and started dinner too.

Even in retirement she does not sit still.

She goes to the gym, volunteers at the hospital, helps cook and serve the dinner their church provides to the homeless every week, researches family genealogy, babysits for her grandchildren so their parents can travel for work and pleasure, and on it goes. My own kids are long past the age of needing babysitting but I definitely appreciated that when they were young. My husband has always traveled in his job and I've been able to accompany him on some wonderful trips thanks to both sets of grandparents.

I have definitely filed that memory away for the day I'm a grandmother myself.

I love this picture.
This is daughter1 teaching her grandma how to dance like Britney Spears.
This was pre-questionable Brittney.
Grandma looks like she could show Britney a thing or too don't you think?

Here's something else I love about mil...
Sorry for the shouting but she is REALLY FRIENDLY!
Like her #1 son, she never met a stranger.
She likes to talk. I like to talk. We have some nice talks.

Mil has mad photography skilz.
Just take a look at this picture she snapped on Easter, 1996.
My hubs with daughter2.

Well actually its the drapes in her living room and sorta the tops of their heads.

"Let me try again after church.''

Much better.

Okay, so I kid.
The good news is she can laugh at herself.
Mil is actually good at lots of things
just not photography
She sews and cooks and knits and crafts.
She can go somewhere one time and fifteen years later still
remember how to get there.
She reads a lot.
She has a green thumb.

My in laws have been married for over 50 years now.
I think a long marriage should be celebrated more.
I appreciate the example set...
keeping vows, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.
Still married.

Perhaps the thing I most appreciate about mil is this-
she is our biggest cheerleader.
Everyone should have someone in their life who
thinks they are completely wonderful.
Someone who is always telling you how happy they
are that you are a part of their life.
Someone who you know will support you when you reach for a dream.

My hubs grew up in a small town and has essentially lived a fair
distance from his parents since graduating from college.
I'm a mother...I understand how it hurts your heart to live
far away from your children.

When we told her we were moving overseas she never wobbled.

Fabulous! Wonderful! Fantastic opportunity!

Sometimes I think if we told her we were booked on the next space shuttle to
the moon she'd say...'Great! Won't that be amazing?'

I file this quality away too, for when I am a mil myself.

Happy Birthday mil!

And thank you for making the heartstrings that hold a family close
even when they are on two continents and spread across five
states on your special day.

with love from your #1 dil


  1. Happy Birthday to your MIL! She sounds wonderful, I wish all MIL were like her especially mine! You are very lucky to have such an amazing one. I hope her day is as wonderful as she seems.

  2. What a beautiful tribute! She sounds like a real treasure. Happy birthday!

  3. Your "mil" definitely is one in a million! I don't think sons 2 & 3 were cakewalks, though! Happy birthday, "mil"! :D

  4. Great post Jo! I have to agree with everything you said!

  5. Sounds like your MIL is a lot like mine. But here's what I really found interesting. You have a picture of your hubs at age one in color!! Wow!! He must be reallllllly young!!

  6. I want to be JUST like her! I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

    Happy Birthday to Joyce's MIL!

  7. I think I'll send my MIL a link to this - Great post.

  8. Happy Joyous Birthday to your MIL! Your words are a testimony to the love she has imparted to you and others. Please give this precious woman a big hug for me. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

  9. Beautiful tribute!
    Happy Birthday to your MIL!!
    Hugs, andrea

  10. Now, that's the kind of MIL I pray that I am and can continue to grow to be to my precious DIL, Joyce. What a beautiful post and tribute to your MIL.
    Happy birthday, Joyce's MIL!
    You write and express yourself so beautifully!
    Love reading what you write! :-)

  11. EXCELLENT POST. Sorry to shout, but EXCELLENT! I loved it. And I heart mil's photography skills. You are a good writer. I ramble on and on pointlessly and say dumb things like Holla! You have so much more substance. Good work.

    Happy Birthday to MIL!

  12. A what a beautiful post and a beautiful mil you have. Had to laugh out loud at mil's photography skills, a bit like my Dad's only his was the other way round, he would chop your head off!!
    Happy Birthday MIL:)

  13. You are so blessed to have such a MIL. Happy Birthday to her! I she comes to read these comments too. She is an inspiration to me as well and I want to be just like her! Thanks for posting this.

  14. Such a sweet post to your MIL. I wish I had one like her. What a treasure.

    This is a great Birthday gift to her.

  15. Please pass along our birthday blessings to your MIL and what an amazing tribute to her.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  16. What a wonderful post about your sweet mother-in-law. You are so blessed! She is quite a woman and like you said, so much like your husband. They are 2 peas in a pod. Hope she had a wonderful birthday! Love & blessings from NC!

  17. What a very nice post in honor of you MIL.

  18. What a sweet post....I love my daughter in law and want to always be special in her eyes....She is perfect for my son