Health

On Aging: Three Lessons From My Mother-in-Law – Daniella Mini

One involves physical activity; the other two depend on how you approach life

Graziella, four years ago. Photo by Author

Some years ago my friend Ashley was complaining about her mother-in-law. Nothing unusual, just indignation over pretty standard mother-in-law remarks about how Ashley was raising her kids and about her housework capabilities. Ashley was also aggravated that her husband didn’t see it, much less say anything about it to his mother. What else is new?

I was an absolute jerk and bragged about how well I got along with my mother-in-law, Graziella. Ashley shut me right up. Her mother-in-law, Ashley noted, lives in the same small state of Connecticut and is there for birthdays, holidays and more. Mine lives in Caracas, Venezuela, an hours-long, international flight away. She can’t visit with little notice, let alone drop by now and again.

Ashley would have been justified in punching me. Infrequent interaction and distance obviously make it easy for any two people to get along. Furthermore, what kind of woman (friend, foe or complete stranger) does not validate a fellow woman’s mother-in-law complaints? Justified or not, it’s practically a rule.

Now, given the advantages of distance and limited contact, my mother-in-law and I do get along splendidly. I’ve also learned a lot from her.


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