The sons-in-law and Dearly Beloved are having an e-mail conversation about what they believe to be the most important word is in the English language. An intellectual discussion between guys…is this a great family or what! The SILs have an ease with DB that is heartwarming to watch, much more so than their relationship with me. As one who is still bogged down in Mother-In-Law 101, I am lucky that they are really good guys, love our daughters and grandsons, and tolerate me because lord knows, I’ve done some screwy things. Walk in my sensible shoes a minute or two… pick a pair: Naots, MBT’s, or flipflops….
Once I attended a tea and a woman who shouldn’t have been there at all because she was coughing and sneezing came over to chat with me as I nibbled on a cheese biscuit. She sneezed violently and swiped at her nose, an undertaking which smeared a large, slimy green booger across her cheek. I gagged–right in her face– a really rude, but purely involuntary response. I’m not that delicate. I’ve mined many a greenie to help my babies through respiratory infections. It was just that this one had been so totally unexpected…and so totally huge.
Since then I’ve been paranoid that I might inadvertently booger someone, whether I had a cold or not. I automatically grab a tissue every time I pass a box. It’s not a need-based phobia, so I’m apt to forget and leave tissues lying about. Not USED ones–just HELD ones. It’s a tacky habit.
Our new son-in-law found it wasteful and unsightly– and rightly so. On our next visit to see them, my daughter quietly asked me to try to use a single tissue… and keep up with it. Wouldn’t you know I hadn’t brought anything to wear that had a pocket and it was warm weather–no sweater sleeve to stuff it in. In order to comply, but also to address my snotophobia, I pinned my allotted tissue to my shoulder, fluffing it out like a flower, but also keeping it wipe-ready. I’m not sure son-in-law found it as amusing as I meant it to be.
Mother-in-lawing is not stress-proof and even years later, I would never dare to take the last piece of pizza or sit in someone else’s chair. We don’t often sit around and just chat, probably a good thing, since it’s usually my mouth that gets me in trouble.
For reasons I don’t understand, our master bathroom at the beach house-not-on-the-beach has double doors. Why would anyone want to open French doors for a sweeping entrance into the toilet? Picture it–two doors without a lock or even a latch–and a huge mirror opposite to reflect every square inch of the room. The narcissist who designed it had not had three kids and 60 years of carbs. I’m surprised the commode isn’t a throne.
One summer evening when our whole family was spending the week with us, I slipped away from the delightful chaos of grandchildren and adult children for a soothing bath. I went into my bedroom (just off the living room where everyone gathered) and closed that door, then on into the bathroom, closing those doors behind me, too. I filled the tub with bubble bath, slid into the warm water, and sank into the bubbles for some relaxing, quiet time. Within seconds I heard the bedroom door open and then both bathroom doors banged against the wall to admit one little toddler who’d come to show a toy to “Gwanmawy.” Hot on his heels was Big Brother, coming to reclaim that toy.
Little Brother expressed resistance about giving up the toy. Big Brother decided to take the toy with Little Brother still attached. My efforts to referee from underneath the bubbles were ignored. Since they had left bedroom and bathroom doors wide open, their screams brought the cavalry…in the form of my son-in-law, who certainly gets points for response time.
Imagine his dilemma. He is in a bathroom with his naked mother-in-law and two screaming kids. Does he make a quick escape with a kid under each arm?
No. (Although honestly, I’d have voted for that option.)
He chose Toddler Interrogation and began his assemblage of all the facts at the scene of the crime, ignoring the naked woman in the tub. I spread my woefully inadequate wash cloth over what area I could.
“Did you try to pick up your brother?” he asked Big Brother.
That seemed to be the key issue. Little Brother, still screaming, nodded yes, as Big Brother cried, “NO!”
“Are you SURE you didn’t try to pick him up?”
Sweet Jesus, don’t let these bubbles evaporate. The question, the nod, and the denial were repeated. And a third . . “Did you try to pick your brother up?”
I could feel that the bubbles were going to get to the bottom of things before the interrogator could.
“Excuse me,” I called from the witness tub. “There was a pick attempt.”
To his credit, my son-in-law maintained his composure and gave no indication of realizing the horror of his situation. He did, however, make the very wise decision to continue the discussion in another room, falling back on the “kid under each arm” option.
Unfortunately, that didn’t leave him an extra hand to close the doors behind him. In case anyone in the large family assemblage just beyond my bedroom door missed an angle of the naked woman standing up to grab a towel, the mirror provided a reflection. My family may not understand me, but they sure as heck could recognize me in a lineup at a nudist police station.
Like our son, the sons-in-law have hearty appetites and I try to endear myself to them with food. I’m sure I’ve baked hundreds of dozens of oatmeal-raisin cookies and the peanut butter balls. . . lord! Must be in the 1000’s! It’s a good thing I wasn’t baking during the tainted peanut period. They might have thought I was trying to kill them, thus taking away my hole card.
So far, so good with the daughter-in-law. As I’ve mentioned before, she’s definitely a keeper. And so, I hasten to reiterate, are our sons-in-law… we’d vote to keep them on the island in a heartbeat. (What’s not to like about a wise-cracking guy who, when his wife asked why he bought brown eggs, answered, “Whole wheat” or one who loves to read and talk books as much as I do.)
So far I don’t think I’ve made them gag, so can I have a check mark for that? I sure don’t understand them though. That high-level discussion about what could be the most important word in the English language?
The one they had in mind was DUDE.
Who ARE these people???