Archive | May 2015

Wedding Plans and Fran the Cow

So, you met Fran in the last post.  She called me the other day to announce that her son and DIL were expecting a child.  What wonderful news!  Ed and Gina had waited until the dangers of the first trimester of pregnancy had passed before making any announcement to family or friends.  This seems to be quite common these days.  Fran exclaimed her frustration with the fact that during the 10 days she had recently spent with her son and DIL, they had not once leaked their secret.  10 days!  That’s a long time to keep one’s lips sealed while in the presence of interested parties.  They also did not take advantage of the opportunity to ascertain the sex of the unborn child.  This is not a common thing to do these days.  Fran is perplexed!

But, let’s scroll back a few years to the planning of Ed and Gina’s wedding.  Here’s another one of Fran’s stories as she weaves a bit of fun into a serious message and situation.

In the case of each son & DIL, Fran had nothing to do with the wedding preparations.  On this occasion, it was intentional.  I voiced my opinion that the whole “Planning the Wedding” thing was a social minefield that I had not expected.  She chose not to navigate it, but to fly over in a helicopter, so to speak.  Early on in the process, Fran looked Gina square in the eye and held her shoulders as she spoke.

“Gina, this is your day.  You need to have the wedding that you’ve always dreamed of.  I will not make any demands upon you … except for one thing.”

As Fran tells it, the expression on Gina’s face went from one of ease to wariness.  What was this soon-to-be MIL going to say next?  And did she really have to accede to this woman’s demands?

“What is it?” Gina asked.Priscilla the Cow

“I want Fran the Cow to walk you down the aisle.”

Well, Gina just burst our laughing.  Turns out that Gina’s family lives on and operates a dairy farm and they had named one of the cows after Ed’s mother after the engagement was announced.  (Cows are people, too, you know!)  So, when Gina heard Fran’s request, she knew that her future MIL was joking and was, in a way, poking fun at the stereotypical MIL who regularly demands that things be done her way or there will be trouble to pay!

Fran went on to talk a bit more about her relationship with Gina.

“You mentioned that you had thought that a relationship with your DIL would be easy.  And in my case, it really was – very easy, very natural”

“To what do you attribute that?  You’ve probably never thought about it” I suggested.

Her answer:  “Gina.  Gina is very easygoing and sweet and nice and perfect.  As a matter of fact, I always talk about her in glowing terms.  A lot of people make comments saying ‘Wow!  I’ve never heard of a MIL speaking so highly about a DIL!’  They are so surprised that I have that relationship with her.”

“In general, it seems quite … um…would you say “fashionable” to complain” I interjected.

“Exactly!  Think about all the MIL jokes” replied Fran with a wry smile.

“I’ve wondered where those all come from and I haven’t really figured it out” I mused.

“Oh, I’m sure they come from experience because … ” Fran sat back and looked at the space above my head for a moment, lost in thought.  Then, she went on to tell about her experience as a DIL.

But, that’s for another post.

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One of my “take-aways”?

Fran had taken advantage of a critical opportunity to communicate to Gina in a humorous way that she would do her best to not be the overbearing, insensitive, interfering,  MIL that is the butt of innumerable jokes and the cause for endless eye-rolling and broken relationships.  Did she learn this from her experience with her own MIL?  Yes … and no.  More on that next week.

What are your “take-aways” from this story?

Got a good story of your own to tell?  Let me know!

 

 

The Wedding Gift

Tonight I’m visiting one of my favorite cities in America – Chicago. As I enjoy watching the Friday night activity on Milwaukee Avenue, I’m thinking back to a conversation with Fran at an Olive Garden restaurant last year. We were enjoying a bowl of soup and a salad while talking about how MILs start off in their role with an immediate handicap. The stereotypical MIL is an object of scorn and ridicule in modern-day America and it’s a challenge to avoid being labeled as one from the start.

Fran has two sons.  And she will tell you that they were both answers to much prayer. When the younger one became engaged to a lovely young woman, Fran decided on a wedding gift. She told her son that she was going to pay for their honeymoon … with one stipulation: that she go with them!

Now, Fran is a joker, a teaser. Her Christmas letters are not “brag rags” like many of the ones you might receive during the holiday season. They are hilarious! They ought to be published in the “True Life” columns of The New York Times. They are that good. So, even though her son knows this very well, his response to this offer was an unequivocal “No, you’re not”. Not surprising.

Fran approached her soon-to-be DIL separately with the same offer. Clarisse laughed nervously.

“She thought I was joking, but she wasn’t quite sure.”

“Because she didn’t yet know you well enough” I offered.

Fran nodded in agreement. “She didn’t yet know me well enough. But, she played along.”

Eventually, so did her son who occasionally would quip things like “I hope your bags are packed. We’re going to Costa Rica!”

Just before the wedding, Fran sent them both an email saying was sorry, but that she couldn’t go on the honeymoon with them after all. As it turned out, the finale of that season’s “Dancing with the Stars” was scheduled for that week and she just couldn’t bring herself to miss it!

Sounds like a good sense of humor plays a role in this mother and son as well as MIL/DIL relationship!

More of Fran’s fun approach to MILhood next week! Stay tuned.