I saw a movie on German television about an obnoxious father-in-law who terrorizes his daughter-in-law to the point that she packs her things and leaves the house, the husband and that awful father-in-law. The film pleased me greatly because it is the mother-in-law who is usually the villain and this was such a nice change! Knowing myself to be a very pleasant and understanding mother-in-law – you may ask them if you will – I am offended whenever I hear one of those slanderous mother-in-law jokes which annoy and upset me..
However, the other day I heard a story, this time told to me by a mother-in-law with a completely new and unexpected twist.
She tells me as follows:
“My son-in-law accepted a temporary job in Paris, while my daughter remained behind in Israel. I joined a group for a trip through classic Europe and when I arrived in Paris, I gave my son-in-law a call. He said to me:
“Don’t continue on this trip, stay with me for a few days. Paris is a magic city and I will show you the town as no tour guide can do. . My apartment here is big and comfortable
and I am sure you will enjoy your stay here!”
So, I accepted his offer and we spent the most wonderful time imaginable. As soon as he came home from work we started our sightseeing. We walked through the Louvre unhurriedly, I met my beloved impressionists at the Jeu de Paume and we spent evenings in picturesque little bistros drinking wine, listening to accordion music and exchanging stories. In exquisite littlel boutiques he encouraged me to pick out a handbag, a necklace, items he paid for generously. My son-in-law was right, I would never get to know Paris so well if it weren’t for him!. One evening he even took me dancing and I felt young and full of energy enjoying life as I seldom did now during my advancing years!.
My few days in Paris reached their end and my son-in-law took me to the train station where I boarded a train to Frankfurt in order to join my group. He embraced me fondly and said to me:
“Now I have some rather unexpected news for you, you should know that …I am divorcing your daughter!”
I was completely flabbergasted. I was sure that my daughter knew nothing of this plan, because she certainly would have told me! Now can you imagine how I felt? That scoundrel, that good-for-nothing, divorcing my wonderful daughter! He never deserved her! Was this the magic that Paris worked on him? While I was there he never received visits from a woman, nor did he get any phone calls! So what in heaven’s name got into him?”
I don’t know the end of this perplexing story, did they really divorce? Did the daughter find solace elsewhere? I never asked the lady in question because now, after she had calmed down, it could very well be that she would not be prepared to talk about the subject again.
At this moment I remember fondly my own dear departed mother-in-law. She was a great beauty and worked at it until the end. She was very friendly with my own mother and they did many things together, like going to shows, sitting in café’s, going for walks. My mother used to resent the fact that my mother-in-law was never on time and she always had to wait for her.
“I don’t understand, she used to protest, why you can’t be ready! I myself just pull over a dress, run a comb through my hair and I am all ready to go! I never spend so much time with make-up!”
“One notices, dear Rosa, said my mother-in-law dryly, yes one can see it!”
I do hope those two continue their friendship in a peaceful mothers-in-law heaven.