Open Letter to My Son in Law

Posted on October 24, 2009. Filed under: books, children | Tags: , , , , |

Dear Son in Law,

That sounds strange. I’ve never had a son in law. It’s new; it’s nice. I had four daughters and haven’t had the pleasure of having a boy grow up in our home. So, welcome and bear with me as I get used to it.

I never thought of myself as a mother in law, you know, the one member of the family who has historically gotten a bad rap and been the butt of many a bad joke. So, I’m going to start out differently. I’m going to be your friend and let you in on a few things that just might make your life a little easier. Now, that’s the kind of mother in law you wanted, right?

So here goes. I’ve compiled some survival tips for you. You see, you married her, but I made her. I’ve shared parts of her multi-dimensional personality in my book, but there’s more.

1.  She owns the phrase “Otay Pine” and tends to use it when she unhappily resigns herself to the fact that she’s not going to get her way. Your first order of business should be self preservation. Duck when you hear those two words, as Otay Pine has been known to be followed by flying bottles which don’t have cocoa in them.

2.  She has a shoe fettish. Actually, she has a foot fettish and a shoe fettish, but for now, we’ll focus on the shoes. I know that you’re already aware of this and aren’t happy with the fact that she hoards shoes like she’s afraid that shoe factories are a dying entity. Because I sympathize with you and your bursting closets, I want to share a tip that just might work. Always go shopping with her. While you’re distracting her with other awesome things that she just-has-to-have, slyly make your way to the shoe department and hide every pair of size tens. Be on the safe side and add the nine and a halfs to that stockpile. Pay the shoe attendant $10 to say “We don’t have that in your size.”  Be a good guy and teach the shoe attendant the fine art of ducking if your wife responds with “Otay Pine.”

3. When she gets that high-pitched, fast talking voice, go missing in action. Go to work. Go to the dentist. Go somewhere, anywhere and fast. When you return, make sure you have a new pair of shoes in your arms. I know that’s contrary to #2, but drastic times call for drastic measures.

4.  She likes to be in charge and be pampered at the same time. Now, I know that balancing those two things is very delicate and few can pull it off. She has it down to an art. Sargeant Carter is a diva. Give in to the small stuff so you can stick to your guns on the ones that really count.  Two word responses usually work well, “Yes dear,” “Otay pine,” and “hell no.”

Those are just a few things that I never got a chance to tell you. You have now been forewarned. But before I close, I want to forewarn you of one more thing. She’s worth every bit of it. Take good care of her.


Your mother in law


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One Response to “Open Letter to My Son in Law”

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Thanks, I always appreciate words of advice. Esp. on the business of shoes. I could do a coffee table book entitled “Things in my closet” (Subtitle: Which still have tags on them)

I think the solution is to let her sit at home and not work…but I told her she had the chance to marry a doctor or lawyer…oh well she/(the rest of you McKennas) are stuck with me now.


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