Monday, November 15, 2010

Mother-in-Law o' Mine, Part One

Nearly a month ago, my blogging friend Mary Bailey left a comment asking me to write a little about my relationship with my mother-in-law.  I was honored that she asked, and I originally planned to fulfill her request in a much more timely manner, but we all know how that goes!  So here I am, the day after my mother-in-law left to fly back to California, finally sitting down to jot some thoughts about the way she and I relate to each other.

I want to start by giving a little history of our relationship; but first, before I even do that, I want to emphasize what a special lady she is.  She loves God, loves Jeff, loves our sons, loves me...is eager to help...shows her love through acts of service and gifts...bites her tongue when she would probably like to express her opinions.  ;-)  My role as loving daughter-in-law is made infinitely easier because of who she is.

But it wasn't always a smooth relationship...

Jeff and I met in Israel, far from the home environment of either of us, distant from the watchful eyes and listening ears and embracing arms of either set of parents.  My parents didn't know Jeff, and they liked him even less!  :)  I'm sure Jeff's parents felt the same way about me.  For one thing (and this was a huge obstacle to them giving their blessing to us), I wasn't a part of their church denomination.  For another thing, they'd never met me and just didn't know how sweet and lovable I am!  *grin*

Despite parental opposition, however, Jeff's and my romance blossomed, bringing forth beautiful blooms of happiness for both of us but also putting down deep roots that would withstand the adversity that was present.  To make a long story short, as soon as Jeff came to visit me in that anxious summer of 1996, my parents quickly grew to love him; and by the time he left, they basically told me I'd be crazy if I didn't marry him.  They said it in nicer words though.  ;-)  I wasn't so sure and felt the need to wait to make my decision until I went back to college that fall.  When Fall Break rolled around, I was ♫leaving on a jet plane♫ to California to see my beloved again and--gasp--meet his family!!!  Talk about nervous!

All in all, things went smoothly.  His parents were nice to me.  And, more importantly, Jeff proposed--again--this was the third official time--and after having heard "God only knows" from my lips when asked previously, he was ecstatic to hear an enthusiastic "YES!"  It was official, we were engaged, and the gold band (no diamond) on my finger bore witness to that fact.

Funny thing about that ring...  Jeff's parents were part of a very conservative church group that held to strict standards of modesty and simplicity, including no jewelry.  No, not even wedding rings.  So the fact that Jeff had just given me a ring might have turned his parents against me even more, but the moment that stands out crystal-clear in my mind--THE moment that defines that era of my interaction with his mom--occurred when we sat in the crowded lobby of an Olive Garden restaurant with his parents, the day after he proposed to me. Jeff's mom reached over to me, took my hand, held it out so she could see the ring clearly, and said...

"It looks good on your hand."

What??  Are you kidding?  You don't even believe in wearing rings, and you're complimenting me on mine?! 

Wow!  Talk about holding out an olive branch!  It was a significant step in the right direction as we journeyed towards peace and mutual respect and admiration and, yes, even real love for each other.

More tomorrow, if I have make time...  :)

3 comments:

mary bailey said...

Oh, thanks, Davene. I am loving this story already. What a sweet gesture she made in admiring your ring. Can't wait to hear the rest!

Kimberly said...

How sweet.
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I wanted to say in regards to your comment at my place-our hearts share the same feelings even when the circumstances may vary. That's the beauty of kindred spirits!

Polly said...

What a sweet thing for her to do! Love the story. :)