My mother-in-law is here from Europe visiting for two months, from Portugal specifically. She used to come more often, but this is only the second time she’s been here since 9/11 terrorist attacks. I can understand her fear. After all, she’s sixty-nine years old, and she doesn’t speak English. In past trips, she has missed flights and once got off in Denver accidentally. (Luckily I knew a friend there who spoke Portuguese so she had somewhere safe to spend the night.) It says a lot about my MIL that she always ends up finding her way to Salt Lake, though her courage has understandably diminished a bit as she ages.
I adore my mother-in-law, and I always try to make her trips nice and do things she’ll enjoy. This time it’s been difficult since the kids have mostly been in school, and I’m far behind on my deadlines so I’ve had to work. But we have managed four firsts for her this time around.
#1 We took her on a cruise right after Christmas. It was the first for all of us, and we had an interesting time, spending time on the beach and bringing back a few souvenirs from Cabos San Lucas.
#2 She also shoveled snow for the first time. Just a little because my husband had done the bulk earlier, but it was enough for her to understand what we go through every year.
#3 We took her sledding. She really went just to watch, but I was hoping to convince her to try it. She didn’t want to because she was worried about breaking a leg, but my husband finally convinced her to go down with him. Unfortunately, he took a bumpy route and her bottom paid the price. But thankfully no broken leg. They didn’t fall off or crash into anyone. As I told her afterward, at least she had the experience, and none of her friends or family in Portugal can say the same.
#4 The other thing she did for the first time was to go bowling. Now, I really enjoy bowling, and I’m usually pretty good at it, but I’ve only gone once since I broke my elbow a few years ago. It hurt that time and I’ve been too busy since to go. I carefully explained the rules and hoped my MIL wouldn't do too badly. To make a long story short, this little diminutive, Portuguese woman smoked me. Yes, I came in third out of three people. You should have seen her ball ambling haphazardly down the lane—only to get a strike or a spare. Now losing to a senior beginner isn’t like have her consistently putting the carrot peeler in the wrong drawer or the knives in the wrong slots. It’s personal. It's wrong. (Sniff!)
The night was saved only by the fact that I was able to pair of gently used bowling shoes for a couple bucks, which will save me a bit of money every time I go. If I go again. I mean, how do you recover from something like that? My younger children are begging me to take them, but I don’t know if my ego can take it if my six-year-old takes me to the carpet, shoes or no shoes.
Oh, well. That’s the sacrifice you make as a mother. And as a good daughter-in-law. Hmm, next time I translate the rules of a game for her, I just might make up a few of my own (whoooohaaaaaa!).