Feb 242010
 

Repentance is a fancy word used often in Christian circles. I don’t use fancy religious words, because I don’t think they explain themselves well. Also, fancy language tends make in people feel in-er and out people feel out-er, and I don’t think that’s how words are best used. I think words are best used to describe specific feelings and ideas and hearts as clearly as possible, to make the speaker and the listener, or the writer and the reader, feel less alone and more hopeful.

I used to be annoyed and threatened by the word repentance, until I figured out what it really meant for me. Repentance is the magical moment when a sliver of light finds its way into a place of darkness in my heart, and I’m able to see clearly how my jerkiness is keeping me from peace and joy in a specific area of my life.

Maya Angelou recently shined a light into the dark part of my heart where I keep my relationship with my mother in law.

In her latest book, Letter to my Daughter, Angelou writes about a dinner party she attended during her first trip to Senegal at the home of a very rich and sophisticated friend. As Angelou explored the decadent home and observed the elegant guests, she noted that they were all carefully stepping around the beautiful, expensive rug in the middle of the floor to avoid dirtying it. She became appalled that her hostess would be so elitist and shallow as to value her things above her guests’ comfort and convenience. Angelou decided to act. She stepped onto the rug and walked back and forth several times. The guests, who were “bunched up on the sidelines, smiled at her weakly.” Angelou smiled back, proud that through her boldness they might also be “encouraged to admit that rugs were to be walked on.”

She then joined the guests on the sidelines, her head held high. She had done what was right.

A few minutes later, the servants came out and quietly removed the rug from the floor, replacing it with an equally expensive one. They then proceeded to place the plates, glasses, wine and bowls of rice and chicken carefully upon the new rug. Angelou’s hostess clapped her hands and announced joyfully that they were serving Senegal’s most beloved meal “for our Sister from America, Maya Angelou.” She then asked all the guests to sit. Angelou’s face burned.

She had dragged her dirty shoes all over her gracious hostess’ tablecloth.

Angelou concluded her story with this:

“In an unfamiliar culture, it is wise to offer no innovations, no suggestions or lessons. The epitome of sophistication is utter simplicity.”

When Craig and I first got married, I experienced his family as an unfamiliar culture. They operated so differently than mine. Communication was different, celebrations were different, meal times were different, expressions of love were different. I found this to be unacceptable. To me, different meant wrong. I became, as I always do, personally offended and perpetually suspicious. In a million subtle and not-so subtle ways, I tried to change my in-laws. I suggested new traditions, I offered advice, I found fault with their personalities and marriage and their relationships with their children and grandchildren. I insisted that Craig and I pull away from them, based on the unforgivable sin that they were different than my family.

I dragged my dirty shoes all over my mother-in-law’s tablecloth. The one she’d spent decades carefully weaving.

My mother-in-law handled all of this gracefully, in retrospect. Tragically, retrospectively is the only way I can ever see things clearly. I imagine my refusal to accept her family hurt her deeply, but she gave Craig and me time and space to work it out on our own. She never pushed us. She never meddled. She bowed out, for a long while. It must have been a hard decision, one I pray I never have to make with my own son. I pray that my future daughter-in-law will be wiser and kinder than I from the start. She probably won’t be, though. She’ll probably be just like me. She’ll want to create her own weaving pattern, which might mean that she’ll need to turn her back on mine for a while.

As a young mother and wife, establishing a pattern that suited me was difficult. Learning to weave my own tablecloth required all of my attention. I needed time and space to establish my own rhythm and style, and perhaps my rejection of the old patterns was necessary to the discovery of my own.

True repentance is messy and it takes time, but that sliver of light is worth waiting for. And when it’s real, it sticks. Thank you, Ms. Angelou, for leading me to repentance.


I’m sorry, Nana.


You know I’m not big on advice, mainly because most days I learn what an idiot I was yesterday. This is hopeful, because it means I’m generally moving in the right direction. But it also makes it risky to put anything definitive in writing today. Even so, I feel safe offering this.

Mothers-in-law, enjoy watching your daughter in law learn to weave. When she makes a mistake, when she drops a stitch, allow her to notice it on her own. Tell her often how beautiful her weaving is. Be kinder than necessary. Bring her some tea. Be simple. Be sophisticated.

And daughters-in-law, notice the beauty of the rug that your mother-in-law spent a lifetime weaving. Remember that mostly, her pattern is firmly established, no need to suggest improvements. Be kinder than necessary, being mindful that the piece of art it took her a lifetime to weave, her masterpiece, she gave to you, to keep you warm at night. One day you’ll give your masterpiece away, too. Be simple. Be sophisticated.


“In an unfamiliar culture, it is wise to offer no innovations, no suggestions or lessons. The epitome of sophistication is utter simplicity.”










Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  75 Responses to “On Weaving and Repentance”

  1. glennon i came upon this post at the perfect time! my son is about to be married. i love my new daughter-in-law to be…i will carry these words in my heart as we weave together a new family one that includes her grace and peace to you maureen

  2. Glennon,
    Poetic and beautiful and thoughtful. Love you Monkee Mama!
    XoXo Susie.

  3. Glennon,
    Poetic and beautiful and thoughtful. Love you Monkee Mama!
    XoXo Susie.

  4. Thanks for this post today – I think you were our Maya Angelou today. I too struggle with my in-law relationship. They are such a different tribe that I often try to change them ~ in a snarky comment kind of way. It's often not pretty. (My mom usually calls me about seventeen times when they're visiting to ask if I'm being nice.) So, for me, this is a post to tuck away in my back pocket and pull out when I need it to effect change. I read it early this morning and have been thinking about it all day. Like Anna said, they really are wonderful people and I just have to get past myself.

    I too have to take deep breaths as I have three boys – and that's it. All MIL relationships in my future. My mom is a great MIL to my SIL Julie and gives a great example of how to be accepting, never demanding.

    Great, brave post.

  5. Thanks for this post today – I think you were our Maya Angelou today. I too struggle with my in-law relationship. They are such a different tribe that I often try to change them ~ in a snarky comment kind of way. It's often not pretty. (My mom usually calls me about seventeen times when they're visiting to ask if I'm being nice.) So, for me, this is a post to tuck away in my back pocket and pull out when I need it to effect change. I read it early this morning and have been thinking about it all day. Like Anna said, they really are wonderful people and I just have to get past myself.

    I too have to take deep breaths as I have three boys – and that's it. All MIL relationships in my future. My mom is a great MIL to my SIL Julie and gives a great example of how to be accepting, never demanding.

    Great, brave post.

  6. It's late, and I should be in bed. My son, Grey, will have me up at O'dark thirty. But I can't stop re-reading today's post and all of the beautiful comments. Tough topic.

  7. It's late, and I should be in bed. My son, Grey, will have me up at O'dark thirty. But I can't stop re-reading today's post and all of the beautiful comments. Tough topic.

  8. What a fabulous post! I truly enjoyed it and have thought of it often since reading it earlier today. (I must add, I am lucky to have a really good relationship with my in-laws. They are warm and welcoming and helpful and loving, -a bit quirky too if you must know- and yet they are not MY parents. I do enjoy them and am thankful to have them in our lives.) At any rate, Thank you, thank you for sharing yourself, your time, your honesty, your life experiences, your perspective…I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

  9. What a fabulous post! I truly enjoyed it and have thought of it often since reading it earlier today. (I must add, I am lucky to have a really good relationship with my in-laws. They are warm and welcoming and helpful and loving, -a bit quirky too if you must know- and yet they are not MY parents. I do enjoy them and am thankful to have them in our lives.) At any rate, Thank you, thank you for sharing yourself, your time, your honesty, your life experiences, your perspective…I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

  10. Glennon.. I am new here, so what I know of you is only from what I have read here on your blog. I just wanted to echo everyone– what a wonderfully written piece!

    I also thought as I was reading this that it must have been extremely hard for you in the beginning of your relationship with your new/in law family. Don't be hard on yourself, you were young and trying to give up your own ways of controlling your life while trying to take on the ways of another family.

    I can't imagine having to go into recovery, have a healthy pregnancy AND incorporate two families into one–all at the same time.
    I am sure your mother in law understood how hard this must have been for you and maybe that is why she chose to give you and your family space rather than fight.

    Thanks Again!

  11. Glennon.. I am new here, so what I know of you is only from what I have read here on your blog. I just wanted to echo everyone– what a wonderfully written piece!

    I also thought as I was reading this that it must have been extremely hard for you in the beginning of your relationship with your new/in law family. Don't be hard on yourself, you were young and trying to give up your own ways of controlling your life while trying to take on the ways of another family.

    I can't imagine having to go into recovery, have a healthy pregnancy AND incorporate two families into one–all at the same time.
    I am sure your mother in law understood how hard this must have been for you and maybe that is why she chose to give you and your family space rather than fight.

    Thanks Again!

  12. Glennon, Just lovely with so much love and learning to share. So much of your writing seems to share the theme of one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou, "
    “You did then what you knew how to do, And when you knew better, You did better.”
    I have really tried to remember this as I grow and not beat myself up about the past; learn and move forward. My husband's sweet mother passed away this September and it is a huge heartache and deep loss to us all. You are absolutely right, "I don't think I"m gonna care who was right or wrong." You won't and I did not. Perspective is everything. I think now about silly things that used to annoy me about how things were done differently at their house or the hurt I would feel for him when hearing some childhood stories, but none of that mattered when his mother was dying and all she wanted to say to him and him to her, was, "I love you." She did the best she could. I am certain of this. And you know what? When she knew better, she did better.

  13. Glennon, Just lovely with so much love and learning to share. So much of your writing seems to share the theme of one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou, "
    “You did then what you knew how to do, And when you knew better, You did better.”
    I have really tried to remember this as I grow and not beat myself up about the past; learn and move forward. My husband's sweet mother passed away this September and it is a huge heartache and deep loss to us all. You are absolutely right, "I don't think I"m gonna care who was right or wrong." You won't and I did not. Perspective is everything. I think now about silly things that used to annoy me about how things were done differently at their house or the hurt I would feel for him when hearing some childhood stories, but none of that mattered when his mother was dying and all she wanted to say to him and him to her, was, "I love you." She did the best she could. I am certain of this. And you know what? When she knew better, she did better.

  14. Do you need me to send you some of my extra girl scout cookies Glennon? I have lots and I don't mind sharing :-)

    Jennifer M

  15. Do you need me to send you some of my extra girl scout cookies Glennon? I have lots and I don't mind sharing :-)

    Jennifer M

  16. Glennon, the way you weave your essays is beautiful. I'm continually impressed at how you share your life and make your experiences so meaningful to everyone elses.

    I feel like Will Farell in Elf when he hears "Santa" is coming to the North Pole (i.e. department store)…I just want to yell, "I know HER…I know HER!" I'm so proud to know you.

  17. Glennon, the way you weave your essays is beautiful. I'm continually impressed at how you share your life and make your experiences so meaningful to everyone elses.

    I feel like Will Farell in Elf when he hears "Santa" is coming to the North Pole (i.e. department store)…I just want to yell, "I know HER…I know HER!" I'm so proud to know you.

  18. G, what a beautiful way to capture the complexities of the MIL/DIL relationship. Thank you, as always.

    Like some of you, my wedding was shotgun style. My relationship w/ my MIL has been difficult from the start, because she refused to come to our wedding. In her view, I not only snatched her son from the cradle (he was just 21 when we got married), but I'd trapped him to boot. Things were said, tears were shed — y'all know the deal.

    It wasn't until after both of my kids were here and thriving — and she could see they weren't starving and mute, — that she could really see the beauty of my weaving, so to speak. And I've grown to see the beauty in hers, although I admit some days I have to squint.

    We're both trying, and we both succeed sometimes and fail others. But we never stop trying, and I guess that's what matters most.

  19. G, what a beautiful way to capture the complexities of the MIL/DIL relationship. Thank you, as always.

    Like some of you, my wedding was shotgun style. My relationship w/ my MIL has been difficult from the start, because she refused to come to our wedding. In her view, I not only snatched her son from the cradle (he was just 21 when we got married), but I'd trapped him to boot. Things were said, tears were shed — y'all know the deal.

    It wasn't until after both of my kids were here and thriving — and she could see they weren't starving and mute, — that she could really see the beauty of my weaving, so to speak. And I've grown to see the beauty in hers, although I admit some days I have to squint.

    We're both trying, and we both succeed sometimes and fail others. But we never stop trying, and I guess that's what matters most.

  20. There is certainly a lot to complicate matters. People are messy. I just try to remember that one day my husband's mommy will be gone, and i'll be the one left holding his hand. On that day, i don’t think i’m gonna care who was right or wrong. On that day I just want Craig to be able to look me in the eye and know that I did what I could to honor his mother, just because she was his mother.

    It's really all about him, and Us.

    I have a lot of work to do.
    I better rest first. I need a long bath. Also consecutive cartoons for the kids. And cookies.

  21. There is certainly a lot to complicate matters. People are messy. I just try to remember that one day my husband's mommy will be gone, and i'll be the one left holding his hand. On that day, i don’t think i’m gonna care who was right or wrong. On that day I just want Craig to be able to look me in the eye and know that I did what I could to honor his mother, just because she was his mother.

    It's really all about him, and Us.

    I have a lot of work to do.
    I better rest first. I need a long bath. Also consecutive cartoons for the kids. And cookies.

  22. I am guilty of believing, for the most part, that my husband became the amazing man he is despite his parents rather than because of them. I am all too ready to see every one of his personality "challenges" as direct outgrowths of their parenting styles. Sadly, and in my defense, often he does too.

    Yet I cringe when I think of my boys' future wives thinking the same of us. Because nobody is immune from their parents' particular blend of neuroses! So instead of pulling out the flaws in the fabric, I will endeavor to see the strands I love most about him in the tapestry they wove. And maybe, instead of agreeing with him when he rejects his own upbringing, I can help him see the beauty in that tapestry, too.

    Thanks.

  23. I am guilty of believing, for the most part, that my husband became the amazing man he is despite his parents rather than because of them. I am all too ready to see every one of his personality "challenges" as direct outgrowths of their parenting styles. Sadly, and in my defense, often he does too.

    Yet I cringe when I think of my boys' future wives thinking the same of us. Because nobody is immune from their parents' particular blend of neuroses! So instead of pulling out the flaws in the fabric, I will endeavor to see the strands I love most about him in the tapestry they wove. And maybe, instead of agreeing with him when he rejects his own upbringing, I can help him see the beauty in that tapestry, too.

    Thanks.

  24. I love this post so much for 2 reasons: I have a tricky relationship with my MIL and I'm sort of obsessed with my future role as the MIL.

    My relationship with my MIL has always been difficult (at best) for many reasons, but after reading this, I realize it's her LACK of tradition that really causes us to struggle. My husband's father passed away when he was 11 and I think that his mother just went into survival mode after that and they were simply trying to put one foot in front of the other and move along. The only tradition she had was the two person team that she and her son created and I royally screwed up that mojo! I sure wish I had had this ephiphany about 11 years ago, but better late than never. I will make an effort to help her feel like more of integral part of our traditions rather than always the "guest."

    As for my obsession with becoming a MIL…that one is going to be a tough nut to crack since my boys are only 6, 4 and 2! I already have them married off and my husband and I dining alone at Olive Garden for every holiday. Not having a daughter has me scrambling for importance in my boys' lives and desperate to make every holiday, birthday and outing so fabulous that they'll never want to go elsewhere. At least I have some time to work this one out…at least that's what I'm telling myself.

  25. I love this post so much for 2 reasons: I have a tricky relationship with my MIL and I'm sort of obsessed with my future role as the MIL.

    My relationship with my MIL has always been difficult (at best) for many reasons, but after reading this, I realize it's her LACK of tradition that really causes us to struggle. My husband's father passed away when he was 11 and I think that his mother just went into survival mode after that and they were simply trying to put one foot in front of the other and move along. The only tradition she had was the two person team that she and her son created and I royally screwed up that mojo! I sure wish I had had this ephiphany about 11 years ago, but better late than never. I will make an effort to help her feel like more of integral part of our traditions rather than always the "guest."

    As for my obsession with becoming a MIL…that one is going to be a tough nut to crack since my boys are only 6, 4 and 2! I already have them married off and my husband and I dining alone at Olive Garden for every holiday. Not having a daughter has me scrambling for importance in my boys' lives and desperate to make every holiday, birthday and outing so fabulous that they'll never want to go elsewhere. At least I have some time to work this one out…at least that's what I'm telling myself.

  26. Anonymous at 11:52am– I think the dynamic you describe is the norm. My husband and I are from opposite coasts and live near his family. This means I am not able to be as close to my parents and sisters as I would like. But the other dynamic I notice is that my MIL is closer to her daughter's children than to mine. I think a great deal of it is that she is simply more comfortable in that household because she doesn't want to impose (or step all over my tablecloth). I understand and accept it– I even appreciate it, but still bristle a little because I know that my kids get less of her.

    Chimmy– I don't know that my family is as much A LOT as yours, but I started to fall in love with my husband before we even dated. He was a housemate of mine who had nowhere to go on Thanksgiving. Watching him interact well with my family (one sister in particular) was the beginning of it all. And he was nice to my parents and good with my nieces too. I left that weekend sure that I needed to date someone LIKE him. And a month or two later I figured out that I should just date him.

    Mothers/daughters-in-law must be a conflict as old as time– too bad women didn't write the great epics. The Iliad might have been about Helen of Troy not fitting in with Hecuba and her 50 daughters (and 49 other daughters-in-law).

  27. Anonymous at 11:52am– I think the dynamic you describe is the norm. My husband and I are from opposite coasts and live near his family. This means I am not able to be as close to my parents and sisters as I would like. But the other dynamic I notice is that my MIL is closer to her daughter's children than to mine. I think a great deal of it is that she is simply more comfortable in that household because she doesn't want to impose (or step all over my tablecloth). I understand and accept it– I even appreciate it, but still bristle a little because I know that my kids get less of her.

    Chimmy– I don't know that my family is as much A LOT as yours, but I started to fall in love with my husband before we even dated. He was a housemate of mine who had nowhere to go on Thanksgiving. Watching him interact well with my family (one sister in particular) was the beginning of it all. And he was nice to my parents and good with my nieces too. I left that weekend sure that I needed to date someone LIKE him. And a month or two later I figured out that I should just date him.

    Mothers/daughters-in-law must be a conflict as old as time– too bad women didn't write the great epics. The Iliad might have been about Helen of Troy not fitting in with Hecuba and her 50 daughters (and 49 other daughters-in-law).

  28. From here, I think it would be interesting to discuss how the relationship differences between daughters with their parents, vs. those of sons with their parents, play into this in a big way. I wonder how much of the dynamic Glennon describes is a reflection of the old Irish saying that: "A son is a son till he takes him a wife; a daughter is a daughter all of her life." Why are grandparents on Mommy's side somehow more "connected" to the children (and often more apt to be involved in their lives) than Daddy's parents are?

  29. From here, I think it would be interesting to discuss how the relationship differences between daughters with their parents, vs. those of sons with their parents, play into this in a big way. I wonder how much of the dynamic Glennon describes is a reflection of the old Irish saying that: "A son is a son till he takes him a wife; a daughter is a daughter all of her life." Why are grandparents on Mommy's side somehow more "connected" to the children (and often more apt to be involved in their lives) than Daddy's parents are?

  30. I can so relate to this. I think as women we feel the need to stand up and be heard. To create OUR memories. OUR traditions. Overlooking those that the ones that came before us established. Thank you for this post Glennon.

    Tricia

  31. I can so relate to this. I think as women we feel the need to stand up and be heard. To create OUR memories. OUR traditions. Overlooking those that the ones that came before us established. Thank you for this post Glennon.

    Tricia

  32. I've only observed this struggle between my Mother and my SIL. And have heard many of my friends, okay almost all of them except maybe two complain incessantly about their in-laws.

    I think I am going to print this off and give it to each of them on Mother's Day, or maybe just before.

    Believe it or not, it is also a topic that hits close to home in my dating life. I have had boyfriends, the few that have gotten even close to seeing a family member, say that I had a "dominant" family. I guess that was a kindler, gentler way of saying it. My sister has had the same experience.

    And, we don't disagree with them. The tribe can be A LOT. Not too much, never too much. I love my tribe. But we are A LOT.

    Still waiting for Mr. Right, who will not be intimidated by A LOT. And this offered a perspective that that I will need to remember, when a MIL does come into play.

    Jennifer M. – you are my hero too. you amaze me. forgiveness. esepcially in that frustrating of a situation. wow. we can do hard things.

    G – wonderful.post. LOVE IT.

  33. I've only observed this struggle between my Mother and my SIL. And have heard many of my friends, okay almost all of them except maybe two complain incessantly about their in-laws.

    I think I am going to print this off and give it to each of them on Mother's Day, or maybe just before.

    Believe it or not, it is also a topic that hits close to home in my dating life. I have had boyfriends, the few that have gotten even close to seeing a family member, say that I had a "dominant" family. I guess that was a kindler, gentler way of saying it. My sister has had the same experience.

    And, we don't disagree with them. The tribe can be A LOT. Not too much, never too much. I love my tribe. But we are A LOT.

    Still waiting for Mr. Right, who will not be intimidated by A LOT. And this offered a perspective that that I will need to remember, when a MIL does come into play.

    Jennifer M. – you are my hero too. you amaze me. forgiveness. esepcially in that frustrating of a situation. wow. we can do hard things.

    G – wonderful.post. LOVE IT.

  34. Wonderful post. This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. But I am out the other side and I am stashing away wisdom for when some day I will watch my son create his family.

  35. Wonderful post. This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. But I am out the other side and I am stashing away wisdom for when some day I will watch my son create his family.

  36. I love this! I read somewhere that we often judge others by their actions, while we expect them to judge us by our intentions. It's funny how tolerant we expect everyone ELSE to be!

    Thanks Glennon!

  37. I love this! I read somewhere that we often judge others by their actions, while we expect them to judge us by our intentions. It's funny how tolerant we expect everyone ELSE to be!

    Thanks Glennon!

  38. Beautiful, amazing, perfect perfection of a post. Not only do you have me not trying to ACT like a jerk, but you are also helping me not to THINK like a jerk. Luckily I have very helpful and supportive parents-in-law even if they are very different from my own, so I don't have a complicated relationship with them. But sometimes I find myself else inwardly fuming at someone else in my life not because they're "wrong" and I'm "right", but because we're looking at the same thing from different views. You're really making me hold myself accountable for the "If you were in their shoes" thing!

    This does scare the daylights out of me knowing that I may have to one day let my children go and let someone else step all over my rug! I hope I will have the strength and grace to handle it like your mother in law. BTW, she does know she's beautiful, right?

    Also, some of my law school friends down here know Mandy!!!! Small world!!!

    Abbey Braun

  39. Beautiful, amazing, perfect perfection of a post. Not only do you have me not trying to ACT like a jerk, but you are also helping me not to THINK like a jerk. Luckily I have very helpful and supportive parents-in-law even if they are very different from my own, so I don't have a complicated relationship with them. But sometimes I find myself else inwardly fuming at someone else in my life not because they're "wrong" and I'm "right", but because we're looking at the same thing from different views. You're really making me hold myself accountable for the "If you were in their shoes" thing!

    This does scare the daylights out of me knowing that I may have to one day let my children go and let someone else step all over my rug! I hope I will have the strength and grace to handle it like your mother in law. BTW, she does know she's beautiful, right?

    Also, some of my law school friends down here know Mandy!!!! Small world!!!

    Abbey Braun

  40. This was wonderful. I hate that I am brittle and shrill around my in-laws just because they come from a different tribe than I do. They are wonderful, wonderful, people. It is almost like I feel competition. I want my husband to say, YOU ARE NUMBER 1! Then I could relax the death grip on my heart and let them in further. Aargh. I know it's going to be tough on me when my son gets married, too. Thank you, Glennon.

  41. This was wonderful. I hate that I am brittle and shrill around my in-laws just because they come from a different tribe than I do. They are wonderful, wonderful, people. It is almost like I feel competition. I want my husband to say, YOU ARE NUMBER 1! Then I could relax the death grip on my heart and let them in further. Aargh. I know it's going to be tough on me when my son gets married, too. Thank you, Glennon.

  42. This, too, hits close to home.

    We live near my husband's family and VERY far from mine. I really do love my in-laws and am very grateful for the help and support my MIL gives us. She comes over once a week to help with our twins and tries to be available on an ad hoc basis when things come up (like the way she is keeping the girls while I go in for a medical test today).
    But it is hard to be a stranger in your own family. It is painful sometimes to realize how different you are and how you might never really fit it. I deeply appreciate the family they raised and all the wonderful things it brought to my husband, but we still have our moments of speaking completely different languages and making uncharitable assumptions about each other.
    The thing that makes this survivable for me is that my husband has a sense of humor about his family and recognizes the challenges (and wonderful gifts) they present. We can roll our eyes together when something silly happens and both be thankful to have them and their traditions in our lives.
    Glennon, thank you for sharing your aha moment and the tablecloth metaphor. It helps.

  43. This, too, hits close to home.

    We live near my husband's family and VERY far from mine. I really do love my in-laws and am very grateful for the help and support my MIL gives us. She comes over once a week to help with our twins and tries to be available on an ad hoc basis when things come up (like the way she is keeping the girls while I go in for a medical test today).
    But it is hard to be a stranger in your own family. It is painful sometimes to realize how different you are and how you might never really fit it. I deeply appreciate the family they raised and all the wonderful things it brought to my husband, but we still have our moments of speaking completely different languages and making uncharitable assumptions about each other.
    The thing that makes this survivable for me is that my husband has a sense of humor about his family and recognizes the challenges (and wonderful gifts) they present. We can roll our eyes together when something silly happens and both be thankful to have them and their traditions in our lives.
    Glennon, thank you for sharing your aha moment and the tablecloth metaphor. It helps.

  44. I read this post as I was psyching myself up to spend the day with my MIL, helping her do something I really don't want to do. Thanks for sharing your heart on a subject that I struggle with. Maybe I will have a little more patience with her today!

  45. I read this post as I was psyching myself up to spend the day with my MIL, helping her do something I really don't want to do. Thanks for sharing your heart on a subject that I struggle with. Maybe I will have a little more patience with her today!

  46. G- You also never call attention to the scuff marks others have left on your tablecloth. What a gift and an example.

  47. G- You also never call attention to the scuff marks others have left on your tablecloth. What a gift and an example.

  48. I am so lucky that I have the most wonderful in-laws in the entire world. They are fun and sweet and love me unconditionally, almost like they are my real parents. Here is proof of how incredible they really are:

    I, like Glennon, am a huge fan of the shotgun wedding. Erik & I found out I was pregnant and we had to get married because I needed health insurance, and I loved him, but mostly for the health insurance. So we got engaged and went over to tell his parents one weekend. I had at this point only met them like 3/4 times. Anyway, we go over to their house and we are standing around in the kitchen and Erik tells them that he has proposed and we are getting married, I show off my ring and my in-laws give tons of hugs and kisses to both of us. Then Erik drops the bomb, "Oh yeah, by the way Aprile is pregnant and is due in November." My father-in-law had the biggest smile on his face and turns to Erik and says "Nice work, son!". And my mother-in-law seconds this comment and we are all hugging and congratulating each other.

    Can I just say that I was overwhelmed. I expected them to think I trapped their son, or that I was some slut who sleeps around with a bunch of guys. But instead I have the greatest in-laws in the world and I am grateful for them every single day. And ever since that moment I knew how perfect they were for me and how I know that God put them in my life for a reason.

    Thanks for letting me share my in-laws. Sometimes you forget how lucky you are to have people like my in-laws in my life, so thanks for reminding me to be thankful for them today!

    Love & Blessings to all Monkees everywhere!

  49. I am so lucky that I have the most wonderful in-laws in the entire world. They are fun and sweet and love me unconditionally, almost like they are my real parents. Here is proof of how incredible they really are:

    I, like Glennon, am a huge fan of the shotgun wedding. Erik & I found out I was pregnant and we had to get married because I needed health insurance, and I loved him, but mostly for the health insurance. So we got engaged and went over to tell his parents one weekend. I had at this point only met them like 3/4 times. Anyway, we go over to their house and we are standing around in the kitchen and Erik tells them that he has proposed and we are getting married, I show off my ring and my in-laws give tons of hugs and kisses to both of us. Then Erik drops the bomb, "Oh yeah, by the way Aprile is pregnant and is due in November." My father-in-law had the biggest smile on his face and turns to Erik and says "Nice work, son!". And my mother-in-law seconds this comment and we are all hugging and congratulating each other.

    Can I just say that I was overwhelmed. I expected them to think I trapped their son, or that I was some slut who sleeps around with a bunch of guys. But instead I have the greatest in-laws in the world and I am grateful for them every single day. And ever since that moment I knew how perfect they were for me and how I know that God put them in my life for a reason.

    Thanks for letting me share my in-laws. Sometimes you forget how lucky you are to have people like my in-laws in my life, so thanks for reminding me to be thankful for them today!

    Love & Blessings to all Monkees everywhere!

  50. Glennon,
    You are a gracious hostess who claps her hands and joyfully offers us a simple, sophisticated sliver of light each day. You expose the missed stitches and stains on your tablecloth and forgive yourself for them allowing us to feel welcome and cozy and do the same for ourselves. I don't mind saying this is the best meal ever. Fully knowing tomorrow I will likely leave the table (or rug) feeling the same way.
    Squeezes, Louie

  51. Glennon,
    You are a gracious hostess who claps her hands and joyfully offers us a simple, sophisticated sliver of light each day. You expose the missed stitches and stains on your tablecloth and forgive yourself for them allowing us to feel welcome and cozy and do the same for ourselves. I don't mind saying this is the best meal ever. Fully knowing tomorrow I will likely leave the table (or rug) feeling the same way.
    Squeezes, Louie

  52. Amazing post Glennon. Thank you from a family who loves the Meltons so much! Meaning you too, of course!

    Isn't it funny how we take our husband's name, but often feel like we are perpetual foreigners in our own land? I am going to read this post over and over and pray that it will guide me as well.

  53. Amazing post Glennon. Thank you from a family who loves the Meltons so much! Meaning you too, of course!

    Isn't it funny how we take our husband's name, but often feel like we are perpetual foreigners in our own land? I am going to read this post over and over and pray that it will guide me as well.

  54. Jennifer, as I have told you 4 million times, you are a hero of mine.

  55. Jennifer, as I have told you 4 million times, you are a hero of mine.

  56. THis was a beautiful post Glennon. Family is SO important.

    Anonymous 8:53. WOW, are we married into the same family. You just described my in-laws to a "T". My parents also bend over backwards to help me and the kids out and would do anything to help us out. I remember when my son had to have tubes put in his ears and I didn't have the money to pay the out of pocket expense (which was over $400), I decided to call his parents and ask them for help out because my parents were always helping. Unfortunately they wouldn't (millionaires that they are), and it became a big fight between me and them and he said if I wanted to give up the rights of my son then he would take care of them. WTH? Seriously? Did he really say that to me? After his son, my husband, the alcoholic is the one that put us in this financial situation and they weren't willing to help with a surgical procedure for their Grandchild? Anyway, it was a good year that I didn't talk to them or even let them see the children before I decided I need to let it go and forgive.

    They don't live close by so I make an effort to let them see the kids whenever they want to, but it's still not easy. Life isn't suppose to be easy but it's a lot easier to let some stuff go then to hold onto the hate and hurt.

    Jennifer M

  57. THis was a beautiful post Glennon. Family is SO important.

    Anonymous 8:53. WOW, are we married into the same family. You just described my in-laws to a "T". My parents also bend over backwards to help me and the kids out and would do anything to help us out. I remember when my son had to have tubes put in his ears and I didn't have the money to pay the out of pocket expense (which was over $400), I decided to call his parents and ask them for help out because my parents were always helping. Unfortunately they wouldn't (millionaires that they are), and it became a big fight between me and them and he said if I wanted to give up the rights of my son then he would take care of them. WTH? Seriously? Did he really say that to me? After his son, my husband, the alcoholic is the one that put us in this financial situation and they weren't willing to help with a surgical procedure for their Grandchild? Anyway, it was a good year that I didn't talk to them or even let them see the children before I decided I need to let it go and forgive.

    They don't live close by so I make an effort to let them see the kids whenever they want to, but it's still not easy. Life isn't suppose to be easy but it's a lot easier to let some stuff go then to hold onto the hate and hurt.

    Jennifer M

  58. close to home here too, sister. thanks for giving me some perspective.

  59. close to home here too, sister. thanks for giving me some perspective.

  60. Excellent! Great message, superb writing.

  61. Excellent! Great message, superb writing.

  62. That one, for me, hit close to home. I find that I don't have objections to the traditions of my inlaws. They love their children and grandchildren and taught them well, took them to church, etc. What I am critical of is my MIL's selfishness and I find it hard to get past that… I believe (and my husband believes!) that she always puts first her plan, her want, her schedule, her need and it frustrates us tremendously. I'm really not sure how to let go of my frustration with that. If there is a family party to celebrate a birthday or an event it will be scheduled at 1 PM. No matter how many times we have expressed that we have little ones that need to nap. And, she'll either whine that we're late or she'll just tell us that we should pull the babies off their schedule and skip the nap. Of course, she doens't have to deal with the consequences of worn out babies! She also has NO ability to hide her disappointment if we don't comply exactly with her plan. She'll call us just to complain that she is "disappointed" that we're late or not coming, etc. My other beef is that she's pathetic in the "take care of things yourself" category and relies a lot on her children and her husband. For example, if we're invited to their home for a celebration, she expects me to bring food. She's healthy, she isn't very old, she has a PT job and no children at home. I have a FT job and four children. My parents BEND OVER BACKWARDS to ensure the load on us is lighter. And, finally there is a lot of jealousy at play. She's jealous that we're seemingly closer to my family. It's just that my family OFFERS to help. It isn't that I don't want her to see the children, but if my parents offer to babysit, they'll get to see the children. If she offered to help, she could see the children, too! So, I find it hard to really accept her approach on these things. What am I missing? Am I just not praying for this relationship in the way I should?

  63. That one, for me, hit close to home. I find that I don't have objections to the traditions of my inlaws. They love their children and grandchildren and taught them well, took them to church, etc. What I am critical of is my MIL's selfishness and I find it hard to get past that… I believe (and my husband believes!) that she always puts first her plan, her want, her schedule, her need and it frustrates us tremendously. I'm really not sure how to let go of my frustration with that. If there is a family party to celebrate a birthday or an event it will be scheduled at 1 PM. No matter how many times we have expressed that we have little ones that need to nap. And, she'll either whine that we're late or she'll just tell us that we should pull the babies off their schedule and skip the nap. Of course, she doens't have to deal with the consequences of worn out babies! She also has NO ability to hide her disappointment if we don't comply exactly with her plan. She'll call us just to complain that she is "disappointed" that we're late or not coming, etc. My other beef is that she's pathetic in the "take care of things yourself" category and relies a lot on her children and her husband. For example, if we're invited to their home for a celebration, she expects me to bring food. She's healthy, she isn't very old, she has a PT job and no children at home. I have a FT job and four children. My parents BEND OVER BACKWARDS to ensure the load on us is lighter. And, finally there is a lot of jealousy at play. She's jealous that we're seemingly closer to my family. It's just that my family OFFERS to help. It isn't that I don't want her to see the children, but if my parents offer to babysit, they'll get to see the children. If she offered to help, she could see the children, too! So, I find it hard to really accept her approach on these things. What am I missing? Am I just not praying for this relationship in the way I should?

  64. This is such a beautiful post G. I love it since it speaks to me about my MIL but also about so many other relationships…judging comes too easily sometimes.

    I think I might also share this with my SILs so perhaps they can see my own mother's ways in a different light.

    BTW – does your FIL really look like a young George from the Apprentice in real life? http://www.nbc.com/The_Apprentice_4/about/georgeross/

  65. This is such a beautiful post G. I love it since it speaks to me about my MIL but also about so many other relationships…judging comes too easily sometimes.

    I think I might also share this with my SILs so perhaps they can see my own mother's ways in a different light.

    BTW – does your FIL really look like a young George from the Apprentice in real life? http://www.nbc.com/The_Apprentice_4/about/georgeross/

  66. I love Peggy! They look wonderful in that picture.

    I, too, am often too critical of my MIL. thanks for your beautiful perspective G.

    Melinda

  67. I love Peggy! They look wonderful in that picture.

    I, too, am often too critical of my MIL. thanks for your beautiful perspective G.

    Melinda

  68. Heather, it's never too late to make a New Year's Resolution, for a new year begins every day!

    Echoing a previous comment, BEST POST EVER, in my humble 2-3 weeks of reading! :)

    I have a lovely relationship with my in-laws but do fall into the trap in my own mind of thinking how different they are from my family and if only I could change them, they would be soooo much happier. HA! Thank God, my MIL doesn't think, "If only I could change Dana and how she loves my son" or if she does, she certainly has NEVER communicated it…what a GIFT!

    I'm going to write a note to my MIL today and just tell her how much I appreciate her! Thanks G for this enlightening perspective.

    Oh and I LOVED seeing the pic of your husbands parents…they are beautiful! Now I better understand the post about Chase's eyes! :)

  69. Heather, it's never too late to make a New Year's Resolution, for a new year begins every day!

    Echoing a previous comment, BEST POST EVER, in my humble 2-3 weeks of reading! :)

    I have a lovely relationship with my in-laws but do fall into the trap in my own mind of thinking how different they are from my family and if only I could change them, they would be soooo much happier. HA! Thank God, my MIL doesn't think, "If only I could change Dana and how she loves my son" or if she does, she certainly has NEVER communicated it…what a GIFT!

    I'm going to write a note to my MIL today and just tell her how much I appreciate her! Thanks G for this enlightening perspective.

    Oh and I LOVED seeing the pic of your husbands parents…they are beautiful! Now I better understand the post about Chase's eyes! :)

  70. Wow, this one hits close to home.

  71. Wow, this one hits close to home.

  72. Beautiful post and beautiful advice. As a DIL, I look back and see that I'm probably hurting my husband more than I'm hurting my MIL with my comments or cool disregard of his family's traditions. Perhaps a little late, but my New Year's Resolution (I never made one) will be to embrace and encorporate as much of my husband's traditions as we can into our celebrations.

  73. Beautiful post and beautiful advice. As a DIL, I look back and see that I'm probably hurting my husband more than I'm hurting my MIL with my comments or cool disregard of his family's traditions. Perhaps a little late, but my New Year's Resolution (I never made one) will be to embrace and encorporate as much of my husband's traditions as we can into our celebrations.

  74. I haven't yet said, "Best Post EVER!" because I couldn't ever decide. I'll say it today, though. What you just shared is not only beautiful, but also incredibly brave. I'm so proud of you. I'm quite certain Nana is proud of you too.
    :)MK

  75. G – I'm so glad God opened your eyes in your relationship with your m-in-law and that you can see a beautiful pattern. I've been trying for a long time with mine (20 years), but the pattern I see are the knots and dirty parts that wove into her son's life that still entrap parts of his heart in a hurtful way. And it has carried over to her disapproval hurting our children, so we keep them out of range for injury. I'll go over there and help her out and put up with it, but I'm not subjecting the kids to it. I'm just not yet as highly evolved as you in this relationship!

    Still, I regularly ask God to show me where I can improve in this, and to show me compassion for someone so full of darkness herself that she can't be happy for others.

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