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?
“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.
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!