Photo: Christmas 2006 at my in law's house.
We've heard a lot of jokes about husband's and mother in laws. I would say these type of jokes would always sell. But what about jokes about MIL and wives? These dont really run around as funnies as they are almost always laments and frustrations and getting in the way or worse, of anger; oh, there are also some success stories; for example, my MIL and I.
Really, I do get along well with both my parent-in-laws, not only with my MIL. The first time they met me, they were a bit sceptic. I cant blame them, I am also a bit sceptic with myself then. Not a fan of anything strange (I fall on the strange category being Asian); they were suddenly overwhelmed with my presence. Especially since I dont speak a word of Deutsch. I can only converse in English, and both of them dont speak the language. FIL managed to dig some words like bye-bye and 'zank you'. Hello is the same, hallo.
But you know what, I dont feel strange at all. They always greeted me with hugs and kisses and big welcoming smiles. My MIL and I, went through these visits with more hand gestures and body language than you would know in this life :-)
And then came Asiatic kitchen to their lives. Not that they live with us, nope. But with every occasions and visits, my husband wanted only to get spoiled with the exotic dishes. I was forced to learn to cook. Sometimes having my mom on my ears (overseas calls loaded up our bills then) while I am preparing the dishes. My PIL, who have never even thought of ever tasting this Ausländische (foreign) food despite having a Thai restaurant for a neighbor; started to indulge, too. There are times now, that they cook rice as a side dish! Gone was the usual prodding, 'eat potatoes, it's good for you!' When they discovered the pan de sal; they wont touch the German bread we prepared for them anymore.
But what was always a big deal for the relations' here, (and always makes my hubby's eyes bulge) is this: I can say anything to my PILs. Anything, not almost anything. EVERYTHING! Of course, I can speak Deutsch now. But they have some treasured English and Tagalog words now, courtesy of me and the kids. Oma knows that bola-bola means meat balls. Both of them knows ate is sister.
Yes, I can tell them everything. I can complain, discuss, argue, insist, lament, whatever. Our conversations range down to the most common 'are you still sleeping?', to the teasing 'what did you do to your hair?' to the arguing 'this must be done or else.' There are times that I would be the mediator for the whole family (aside from my bro in law). Oh, it is not easy; but the thing is, they listen to my dialogues with them. That is the most important thing, they take time to listen.
What's more, I enjoy being spoiled by them. My FIL knows I love to eat grilled 'Schweinehaxe' (pork's knuckle). When he comes to a store that sells this, he would buy also a portion for me. This would be delivered to our house, still warm. As I've already previously told, we can always 'invite' ourselves to their place; and would be allowed to choose what we wanted for lunch or dinner. And most of the time, we would be driven back and forth.
Sometimes when it is raining, he would call me if I wanted him to drive the kids to kindergarten. He would sometimes drop by to bring some fave fruits to us. He sometimes chauffer me someplace, to buy groceries, for example. And when I cannot join him, he would gladly get my list and do the grocery shopping himself. And I melt with his touching words, 'when I can still do all these things, then I would gladly do them'. Of course, he's got also some irritating traits but I ignore that because, I simply just love his gentle ways.
As for my MIL -- I tell you, she's also the best. She would let me decide for my kids. She would ask me if the kids are allowed to eat chocolates, before nodding for them to open her box of sweet treasures. She doesnt interfere, not at all. She would always ask first. No discussions, what I said would be followed. And that is very important, right?
She's also a lovely girlfriend despite our age difference (she's already 86 years old). I love to giggle with her everytime it's our turn to wash the dishes. She tells me stories about her love life. My husband wasnt even aware of their love story until I told him about it. And we often sneak pinches of sweets or whatever in is the ref between us, while preparing and cooking the meals together.
She's a stylist one, my MIL. She wont go out of the house without her face made up, with her favorite jewelries and good clothes. Thus, she's a regular beauty shopper. She would be sharing her samples of perfumes, lotions, face moisturizers, etc. with me. And I love her wardrobe! She buys only from the best boutiques in town, and shops for shoes during their yearly trips to Italy. She would be showing off her newly bought clothes or pair of shoes. Other times when she is feeling generous, she would ask me to try on some coats and clothes, and if it fits and I like them, I can bring them home! This also goes with shoes. I sometimes borrow some of her belts or shawls or gloves. It is a pity that she's so crazy about her bags, they are only for her :-) I also received one precious gift from her, a real fox shawl that was a gift from her father when she was a teen-ager! That shawl, according to my MIL's story, came somewhere in Scandinavia, where her father was stationed as a soldier. A piece of history to be passed from generation to generation. I dont use it, of course, but the kids love to touch it, -- they are in awe of it as it looks so real! I cant deny that she can also become ticklish sometimes, but hey, what are girl friends for?
Meet my parent in laws. I cant ask for anything more, right?