What I Learned from My MIL

Let’s lay the groundwork. I don’t get along with my MIL. So it is with reluctance and took a long time for me to admit I learned anything from her. Now that we are done with that. Here it is. She taught me how to receive gifts graciously.

She would get me stuff. All manner of stuff.  That she thought I would like. That showed me she knew me. Some bordered on offensive, like the book Dance of Anger. Others I just didn’t get, like holiday themed paper plates and napkins. And it would all demonstrate exactly how little she did know me. But she was trying to make me happy. And I would be dismissive of her gifts and her effort.

One day MIL told me how her mother was the sweetest woman she knew. That her mother would never think to not appreciate a gift. She may not like the gift, but she never showed it. If it was not something she could use, she would pass it on. I resisted. I am an honest person. I have integrity. I would never abandon my principles just so someone would feel better. And then I had children.

Children can be ungrateful imps. And I am often hurt by their brutal honesty. So I teach my children that honesty is a good thing but it does not mean you have to voice all things, honest or not, if it served nothing but to hurt. My MIL would never understand my taste or my style. So I will say thank you. And if it doesn’t work for me, I will pass it on. “

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