grandma visits red riding boots*

My MIL is in town this weekend. Now, I know that most of you probably read that sentence and thought I was going in a different direction. But I’m not. I love my MIL. She is the bomb.

Not just because her presence here means that landisdad and I get to go out to see a movie, or something. Not just because it means that someone else is here to occupy the Bumblebee, who will otherwise spend the entire weekend calculating the amount of attention she is getting versus the amount that her brother is getting, down to the fraction of a second. Not just because she brings us cool presents from France, like this lovely new purple tulip pin that I’m now sporting. All those things are important.

But the number one reason that I heart my MIL? She is a bright, funny woman who I love to talk to. She’s a retired professor, and she is tremendously supportive of the careers of both my SIL and me. She spends half her life in France, living with her partner (who’s got Parkinson’s and is too sick to travel here), and the other half living in lower Manhattan, in her fabulous loft off of Union Square. In short, she has the life that I want to have when I grow up.

She always has interesting stories to tell. She’s a polyglot. When landisdad and I were in a pre-married state (aka, “living in sin,” according to my own mother), we visited her in Europe on her dime. She got us into closed exhibits at the Louvre by pretending we were her research assistants.

I grew up in your garden-variety US suburban broken home. Now, I’m a firm adherent to the Anna Karenina school of thinking about unhappy families, and I’m not saying that my dh didn’t have his trials in childhood and early life. But he spent his entire third grade year living in Holland. I spent my entire third grade year doing I don’t know what exactly. But it wasn’t memorable the way that his was.

I’ve told my dh, and I think it’s true, that I ended up with him because of all the men I’ve dated, his parents had the most successful post-divorce relationship that I have ever seen, and I knew that if we got divorced, it would end up being okay for our kids. It’s not that I’m thinking of getting divorced. It’s that what I came out of my unhappy childhood realizing was that you always have to have a backup plan. And it’s better to have a backup plan that you never use, than to need one and not have one.

But I digress. The point is, my MIL is having a conversation with the Bee right now about what will be the appropriate age for the two of them to go to Paris together sans parents. A conversation they have had repeatedly since my MIL made that promise to her as they watched Madeline four consecutive times on the day that the Sweet Potato was born. BTW, if you are the parent of a pre-school girl and do not own the Madeline video, go out and rent it immediately. Frances McDormand is absolutely brilliant as Miss Clavel. (Why, incidently, is she Miss Clavel, and not Sister Clavel? She’s obviously a nun in the Bemelmans books.)

How come I didn’t get to go to Paris with my grandmother when I was ten?

*okay, dh totally made this line up. sh, don’t tell him I stole it.

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March 26, 2005. thoughtful parenting.

5 Comments

  1. Chip replied:

    Sounds like your mil is a wonderful person! I think it’s really great for kids to have their own relationships with other adults (besides their parents). The plan for a trip to Paris is something she’ll always remember, whether she actually ends up going or not (though it sounds like it’s a pretty sure thing, lucky her!).

  2. Jessica replied:

    Wow…you are so lucky to have her. I, too, like my MIL but I can’t say that I truly enjoy her company. She’s a little spacey and sometimes ‘out there’ with intentions in all the right places.

  3. landismom replied:

    She is great, and I am really lucky to have a good relationship with her. Everyone had a great time, dh and I saw a movie, Bee & grandma & dad went to a museum yesterday while I stayed home with the power-napping Sweet Potato. The only problem is, now I’m so relaxed that I actually feel how tired I am.

  4. LeggyP replied:

    Wow- can’t say my MIL bears any resemblance to yours except that she is good with my son and gives us a break when we want it, which is nice. I’m over 10- will she take me to Paris?

  5. landismom replied:

    “I’m over 10- will she take me to Paris?”

    Only if you play REAALLLY nicely with others.

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