There Will Be No Lifetime Exactly Like This One

Which WayThere will be no love, no sweetheart, exactly like this one the man who pronounces your name in just such a way, with his beautiful voice, the man who brings flowers, whose words move your heart so tremblingly softly, whose arms holds you this way and they way, embracing, consoling, protecting: the woman whose fragrance enchants you, whose head on your chest when you sleep is the sweet weight of bliss, whose kisses are blessings, whose laughter is sunlight, whose smile is pure grace.

There will be no lifetime exactly like this one, no other, not ever again, not this birth, not this particular story, this mother and father, these houses and walls, these strangers and friends . Oh! And how you are moved by it all, with such beauty, touching each other, dancing, stepping, curtsying, bowing across all the stages, filling the rooms of your lives with this joy,  this sweet love. There will be no other way to live this life, only the way you have chosen to live it and with whom moment to moment. This moment , this day, this relationship, this life, are all unique, exquisite, unrepeatable. Like every  moment as if you, indelibly, knew this.

We Love Grandparenting And Laughter

Sweet Little GirlPractice laughing it works. Deliberately think of a funny incident or joke, or ask your grandchild to tell you one of theirs. Don’t wait for laughter to come to you . . . make it happen. And smile on purpose. Even if you don’t feel like it, just using those muscles in your face actually signals your brain to release the chemicals that make you happy. So when it comes to smiles, follow that saying,”fake it until you make it!” Besides, the more you smile, the more everyone around you will smile and the more relaxed you’ll all be. 

The grand-parenting stresses in our lives are now part of our lives, and so are their symptoms. We cannot ignore them, must not feel guilty about them, and should not let them overwhelm us. The time to take care of yourself is now! The time to enjoy your life is now! I’ve seen that there is no single “right way” to grandparent. Just make sure that you’re not on automatic pilot or playing a role written by others. Make sure the way you are grand-parenting is the way you want to grandparent. If its’ not, change it . . . to your way.

Although there are probably as many different types of grandparents as there are grandparents, here is a few basic archetypes, which one, or more sounds familiar? The Enforce, The Spoiler, The Executive, The Globetrotter ( world traveler and include your grandchildren), The Environmentalist, The Buddy, and then there is The Pushover, The Cuddler,The Coach, and The Counselor, just to name a few, and I am sure that you add more. The archetypes are fun and help us to take a look at ourselves, recognize ourselves, smile at ourselves, compare ourselves to our parents and grandparents, and to make more deliberate and conscious choices about how we want to grandparent. 

All “types” are created equal. Different,  but equal. so type doesn’t matter, so long as you are loving and supportive. Roll around on the floor with them or read to them a story, both work. Get involved in whatever they are passionate about or get them excited about your interests both are great. Tuck them in  and read to them or let them stay up and watch TV with them both are special. As long as you are teaching your grandchildren about love, life, and happiness by example, your way is the right way . . .  for you and for your grandchildren.

A Letter To Mom

There is a little girl in all of usDear Mom, Now that I have children and grandchildren of my own, I’m beginning to realize what a challenge it is to find the balance between encouraging them to continually strive to do better and instilling confidence in them and letting  them know that I’m happy with their best efforts.

I’d like to know your secret, because you’ve always seemed to know just how to do that with me.In school, of course you wanted me to make straight A’s, but if I’d truly done my best and gotten a B or a C, I didn’t have to be afraid  to tell you. You let me know that you wanted my best, not perfection.

Even though I wasn’t the best athlete, no one in the bleachers looked prouder than you, and knowing that pushed to keep trying and improving. Thank you, Mom for being my inspiration. Love, your child.

Why I’m thankful you were my mom…

 You never tired of practicing words with me the night before the spelling bee.You comforted me when things went wrong.You ran to help me when I fell and told me funny stories to ease my pain.You wiped away my tears, held me close, and loved me. In your arms there was shelter from the storms of life, peace when my heart was troubled; joy when the day was dark.

Your love never failed me.You forgave me when I messed up.You patiently cleaned up the many spilled glasses of milk with only a gently reminder to be more careful the next time.You listened as if I was the only person in the world.You inspired me to do my best.You taught me about God’s love.You made our house a home.You always believed in me.You cheered me on even when no one else thought I stood a chance, you always cheered me on!

Mom,If I had a flower for every time I have thought of you, I could walk in our garden forever.I know other beautiful things in life come in twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds.There are plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters,aunts and cousins, comrades and friends. . . but I only had one mother in the whole world.

 

“Two Special Women In One Man’s Life”

Since the beginning of time loving brides and grooms have had the privilege of picking out their life partners. However, it’s a different story for the groom’s mother when she becomes partners fused together with her daughter in law after the “I Do’s.”  Mother in-laws have shared that at first they find their new role was a daunting challenge especially if she wasn’t consulted or didn’t give her consent. But it’s a challenge that can be overcome the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is without question is like a complicated dance.

Yet, by the very nature of the relationship, the two are expected to immediately move freely and beautifully in synchronized harmony. Rarely is this connectedness and closeness realized overnight. He does, She does but what about you, the mother of the groom can you take her? The candles are lit, the room grows with a soft yellow hue, the groom, the pastor, and the wedding party are in place at the altar.  As all eyes eagerly watch the closed-door at the chapel’s entrance, suddenly the air is changed from the sweet stillness of anticipation to the first notes of the beautiful music chosen for the wedding processional. As the doors swing open, the bride’s heart races at the sound of the melodic cue to make that long-awaited, slow walk down the aisle of matrimony.

But as the song plays, the lovely bride does not realize that she is not the only lady in the room who has been cued by the music. Her mother-in-law to-be is also called to respond to the melody! While the young woman in white moves gracefully with the music toward her chosen one, the song calls the mother of the groom to graciously step to the side. In reality, the wedding processional is not just for the bride, it is also a cue for a lifelong dance to begin for two special women in one man’s life.

How true it is that so much changes for a family when the adult children fall in love and marry. Suddenly that are new members who, by decree of law and circumstance, are expected to be embraced and included into the fold. By all means, the challenge is a daunting one, especially for mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws. The daughter-in-law who may have chosen to join with her husband in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in a holy alliance with the rest of his family. By the sheer nature of the relationship she is expected to melt into a household of family members that are often unfamiliar and at times very different from her family of origin.

The reality is that every holiday, every special occasion, even the continuance for the coming generations pivot on the choice to unite families through marriage. Whether the parents-in-law or the adult children realize it or not, the choices that are made are life-altering for the entire family. For most parents, the grace to love and enfold those new family members by law is a mere continuum of the parental love they enjoy with own kids. However, there are those situations that may require an attitude adjustment. What does a parent do when their child’s preference of a mate is contrary to their personality or taste?  Or what if the offspring ventures outside of their culture, social class, or religion? Is is possible to accept and even cherish the chosen one when they are an unnatural fit? And what about the daughter-in-law? What is she supposed to do when she’s thrust into a new family that may already established traditions, modes of interactions, and common activities that perhaps she doesn’t readily accept or enjoy? She, along with her mother-in-law, can find comfort in knowing that they are not the first to venture out on that sometimes slippery dance floor.

My friend Jane had always dreamed of the day when she would fully embrace a daughter-in-law with the same energy and vitality  with which she loved her own daughter. The two of them always had best of times, they could shop-till-they-dropped with the best of them. Their home was full of the two of them laughter and talking throughout the house when they were together. To Jane’s thinking, adding a daughter-in-law simply ment one more girl with whom to chum around. However Jane’s daughter-in-law was not like Jane’s daughter. She didn’t readily laugh a lot, and she seemed to always isolate herself from the rest of the family. For instance, when the other women were in the kitchen preparing the meal for a family gathering Jane’s daughter in law would sit all alone in the living room quietly leafing through a magazine.

I asked, Jane if she encouraged her to join them and her answer demonstrated the patient wisdom she possessed. Jane replied,  “No.”  As much as I would love for her to feel comfortable being with me and the rest of my  family, I’ve decided to give her space enough to choose whether she stays in the living room or comes into the kitchen. For too long, she’s had someone telling her what to do, and when she didn’t do it fast enough, she was punished. Jane didn’t want to be another person demanding to have their way.

Jane went on to say, I love her and I believe in time she will feel that love. Until then, I will continue to be patient and understanding. “She’s a wonderful wife to my son and that’s all she owes me.” My friend Jane might have selected a different life-partner  for her son when Jane found out that her son was marrying a woman who had a bad life and had been previously married to a man who beat her and her child but instead she decided to love, respect and except her daughter in law the results were amazing.

 Jane learned valuable lessons over the past few years as she has invested into her daughter-in-law. The two women have since grown amazingly close and continue to do so. Jane’s  understanding and kindness has been instrumental in healing hurts of a lovely young women. Jane did it right, and she has reaped the joyous benefits of her choices.  As you establish a rhythm of love and grace, you’ll find that you and your daughter-in-law/ mother-in-law can dance a loving and joyful dance too!

Would Your Rather Clean Your House Than Spend The Day With Your Mother In Law?

 Would you rather clean your house than spend the day with your mother in law? A survey by iVillage in 2010 found that 51% of DILs (daughter-in-laws) said, they would rather spend the day cleaning their house than with their MIL ( mother in law); and 28% percent they’d rather have a root canalA Cambridge University study of hundreds of families over a twenty-year period found that more than 60 percent of the women said, their relationship with their mother-in-law was stressful for them! Daughter-in-laws had a chance to vent about  their mother-in-laws and grandmother in-laws. The answers were immediate, intense, and anxious often saying, “What ever you do, maintain my anonymity. 

They might not apply to you at all, but it’s good to get a window into what DILs are thinking. If you’re sure you want to know what they said, here’s what they said… Thanks, but no thanks when it comes to parenting advice. They want to raise their kids their own way and make their own mistakes. The story you tell about how your son loves your home-baked deserts that you tell just as your daughter in-law brings out the cake she bought at the bakery is an example of a mother in law being passive-aggressive in her  behavior and if you are a mother in law you may be surprised to be told you are still being aggressive even if you are being subtle stop it!  Let’s stop standing on ceremony.

 One daughter in law said, it bothered  her mother in law when she didn’t send her a thank-you note for the baby’s birthday present. She though of her as family and felt like saying, to her mother in law, ” I am not the rude ingrate that you think I am and yes, I am good enough for your son”. It’s sweet that you think your son is so perfect, as long as you also understand that I’m perfect for him. DILs would appreciate it if  their MILs would ask them for some gift ideas and respect the limits  for birthdays and holidays.

They know that they are not like their mother in-laws. But that doesn’t mean they don’t respect the heck out of them.  Remember, she married your son knowing full well that “She married the whole family.” All this  Mother in law business is not a great mystery to daughter in-laws because after all they understand that  their mother in law was the first woman in her husband’s life and have known him longer (and maybe better) than she does. She has taken care of him… and did it very well.  She may be expecting to share holidays and all special occasions with her son’s wife and  family.

The mother in law has her own relationship with her children…the grandchildren and she will usually take her son’s side… even if she doesn’t say so aloud.You can decrease the issues somewhat and sometimes but not all the time. If  you are a mother in law you may be saying to yourself why brother? The answer is simply, you try your best for your grandchildren! You may wonder why should you make the first move? For your grandchildren’s sake that is why! Why let things pass? For your grandchildren that’s why! Let’s start with a few suggestions: See what your daughter-in-law is like with other people, and don’t expect her to be different with you.

On the other hand if she is kind and considerate to other family members and her close friends and not to you. There’s your answer, she doesn’t really like you but you still have to be kind to her for your grandchildren sake! Treat your daughter-in-law with the same patience and politeness you show your own daughter or your close friends or even new acquaintances. The odds are that your daughter-in-law will not have the same kind of personality as your daughter or your close friends because they are like you so go for new acquaintances.

If things get really tough, pretend you’re writing a movie and become an observer instead of participant… it will help to give you psychological distance and enough emotional breathing room to feel in control of your emotions, and sometimes a laugh. Look at the up side of this one you could end up writing a book or a movie script or just feel better and don’t forget to vent with all the other mother in-laws who are in the same boat. Remember you’re not alone just take a few minutes and read any book about DILs and MILs.

 You may be surprised to learn that there are many of blogs used for DILs or MILs as a place to vent. Take a look on-line there are thousands of  women venting about the women in their lives. The most important thing to remember is keep your sense of humor and pray, pray and then pray some more. Want to calm the stormy seas? Here are some tips: Never, never, never…say, “My son is right. Never say, “I think you should. Never say, “I just assumed that…”  You may be asking yourself is there anything we should say? Here are a few suggestions from seasoned mother-in-laws and grandparents…

Tell her stories about your son that will amuse her and interest her and not stories that will make her feel that you think he’s perfect. Make sure you say positive reinforcement statements and yes that can be a challenge when you know in your heart of hearts that she doesn’t like you or resents you but do it for the grandchildren. Say positive statements, like “I respect how you’re raising your kids.” They may not do things the way you did, but it’s a different world today. Find something positive to say that will ring true. Offer to do the dishes or the laundry… or make dinner, be there to help. Don’t be surprised if she tells you “know” that she prefers to it herself it’s an ego issue.  Try saying things like,” Don’t worry; you’re wonderful parents.” They’re probably nervous about every decision they make, and those kind words can make them feel so great and so warm toward you! Your children are wonderful.” All kids go through difficult stages. Tell her your kids did, and they turned out great.

“I’m here if you need me.” You know they’re up on all the latest information about child safety, diet, and development. Just let them know that if they want your advice, they can ask for it and you’ll be happy to share it. Daughter-in-laws usually turn to their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts before they’ll ask their mother-in-law. Oops! Does that sting? “Keep in mind that all parents feel insecure sometimes.” Parenting can be learned only on the job, and not matter how many blogs and books they read or experts they consult or even if they ask for advice from you, nobody knows their child as they do.

In the Bible, Ruth praise, respects, and loves her mother-in-law, Naomi. Although some of your friends or maybe even you think that your daughter in law (DIL ) feels the same way, most say they are not as lucky as Naomi. They describe their mother in law/daughter in law relationships as one of the most sensitive and complicated relationships they’ve ever had. But at the same time, they know in fact we all know it’s one of the most important relationships we’ll ever have, because if we don’t have a working relationship with our daughter in-laws, we won’t have a relationship that works with our grandchildren! So if you have an excellent relationship with your daughter in law cherish it! And if you don’t, there are things you can do to improve it, the first step is to pray about it and talk to a seasoned mother in-law you respect.

“When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!”

Many couples are putting their children at the center of the family. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, after all, aren’t your grandchildren the apple of your eye too? But when parents put their children ahead of  their own needs, ahead of their marriage, it may seem child friendly, but it can lead to complications.

When children are the absolute center of the family, they can grow up without boundaries. This can lead to demanding, entitled kids. Who become demanding, entitled adults. You might have a friend or two who are demanding and they can be difficult to get along with. Can’t they? 

 No one wants their children or grandchildren to turn out to be demanding. Do they? Some acting out might be all right for a child, but future bosses, spouses and friends will probably not be so tolerant. Will they? Furthermore, being the center of the family is too much pressure for most childrenChildren cannot fulfill all their parents‘ emotional needs and it’s not fair to expect them to. Children in this position often feel they need to parent their parents and that’s not their job. Actually, it’s your job to be there for your children when they are parents.

Remind them to make time for themselves, their spouses and friends if you want to be helpful offer to babysit so they can have a date night or weekend getaway, and you’ll get to spend extra time with your grandchildren.  Bob and Jane being the wise parents and grandparents that they are, offered to babysit their grandchildren while Jim and  Lynn went out on the town.  As Lynn was leaving, she told her children to listen to Nana and Pops and then gave them a kiss on the cheek and thanked her parents.

Well, Bob winked at Lynn while reminding her of this old saying,”When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Bob’s point was that couples need to spend time together just the two of  them and keep the romance going.  Now Jim plans romantic surprise date nights at least twice a month and all Lynn has to do is show up . Jim and Lynn are feeling reconnected and Nana and Pops are “Happy Grands.” Jim agrees with Bob “When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

The Mother In Law Relationship Is Complicated

The conflicts between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws is still going on it has raged throughout all of history. Nearly 2000 B.C. Rebekah complained to her husband, Isaac, that her daughters-in-law were making her life so miserable that she would rather not even be alive. Read Genesis 27:46).

Today, some 4,000 years later, women are still complaining to their husbands about these women! Mother-in-laws are still wondering why out of all the human relationships, the one between them and their daughter-in-laws is the most complicated? Second only to step relationships of course.

There is a built-in-conflict before the relationship even begins: two radically different views of the same man. The daughter in law will see him first as a man; while the mother in law will always see him first as her child.The mother in law comes into the relationship lugging a suitcase bulging with memories. From the sweetness of babyhood through the tyranny of the teen years into adulthood, these memories have indelibly imprinted her heart. She enters into this life phase acutely aware of a door closing in her life as a mother.

The daughter in law comes waltzing in with a suite case empty of everything but confidence and anticipation. She’s eager to swing open the new door and march in and there lies the basis for struggle. Both the mother in law and the daughter in law are naturally territorial when it comes to their family. Standing in the middle of  these two overlapping territories is a man who is the son of one and husband to the other. It’s in everyone’s interest for the son to step out of the overlapping territory and fully into his wife’s territory and the sooner he does this the better.

The parental relationship is secondary to the spousal relationship, yet the bond between a mother and her child is visceral. The phase “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” refers to husband and wife, yet there is little doubt a mother holding her child in her arms feels more “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” toward her child than she does toward her husband. Again, the basis for conflict between a man’s mother and his wife.

This motherly feeling of “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” had been the source of much marital conflict: a mother consciously or unconsciously placing her child before her husband, magnifying her connection to their child. Even the court system typically give more value to the mother-child relationship.

The undeniable connection can easily cause a mother to overstep her territory and interfere with the process of her adult son transferring thus-far primary relationship, the one he has with her  to the one needs to form with his wife. If you are a mother of a son, you fully understand this tendency, because there is a powerful bond between mother and son. A man’s first significant relationship is with his mother. That bond, forged at birth, leaves a permanent imprint on both mother and son. Even if the relationship is broken, it continues to significantly impact both lives. This powerful attachment between mother and son needs to be and must be reassigned when the son introduces another woman into the picture.

Here is a scenario to consider “Suppose your son, yourself and your daughter in law were in a boat together. If the boat capsized and you and your daughter in law were both drowning, who should he save?  You might be saying to yourself, ” A man can always get another wife, but he has only one mother.”  or a daughter in law might be thinking to herself,” well his mother is old any way.” Now, now is that anyway to be thinking?

As a mother you should want your son to have a strong and healthy relationship with his wife. A mother who wants to maintain a close relationship with her son, who truly has his best interests in mind, must willingly step back and fully acknowledge and respect the relationship he is forming with his wife.

Whether she likes the woman or not. There is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by allowing competition to into the in law relationship. While the mother may not view her behavior as being competitive, the truth is that anything she does to maintain her status as the first woman,” whether consciously or unconsciously, will be viewed by the daughter in law as competition.

 Sometimes completely innocent behavior on the mother’s part will be wrongly interpreted this way. Knowing, this the wise mother will refuse to take offense and will carefully watch her behavior until he daughter-in-law is secure in her position. 

 Five years ago my friend Jane’s son  David married a terrific gal named Liz and on the day of their wedding Jane’s mother in law shared some advice with Jane. She said, that she chose to forget everything she had ever knew about her son and let her daughter in law discover him for herself. As any mother can image that is not easy to do. Is it? Jane and her mother in law are truly friends and enjoy each others company.

 Jane, decided  she wanted to have the same kind of relationship with her daughter in law so she decided to take her mother in laws advice and chose to forget everything she ever knew about her son David and let Liz discover him for herself.” It was a choice that has richly rewarded Jane over and over and over again. She said ,she loves how excited Liz gets when she learns something knew about David and Jane enjoys Liz’s excitement,friendship plus she completely understands why her son loves his wife as much as he does.

A successful relationship with your in-law does not necessarily mean you become best friends. It doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying lunch dates or shopping together like Jane and Liz do. Success is simply determining to live peaceably with her by any means. Success is getting up every morning and determining to leave the past in the past. Whatever your history is with your in-law find a way to make admins and move on.

Success is recognizing that at the center of your conflict is a man you both love, children you both love, and finding a way to make room for each of you to benefit from and express that shared love.
Success is consistently acting in love and letting go of the negative emotions you may have toward your in-law,start refusing to let those emotions color the quality of your life for one more minute.

Your love is like a garden, and unless you tend to it, you’ll never reap the full rewards that love can bring.