Yesterday we found a large yellow envelope in the mail from my mother-in-law. As we headed back into the house, I pondered, hmm. it's no one's birthday, Valentine's Day is long past, too early for St. Patrick's Day, wonder what it's for?
Turns out it was for me! Inside was a thin wrapped package, and a three page note from my mother-in-law, or MIL, explaining that she was in Epcot Center for her birthday, and saw something in a French gift shop that kept making her think of me. Six years ago, my husband and I went to France to celebrate our wedding anniversay. (Well, that's why I went to France, Jamie was already there on a port visit with the carrier USS Enterprise. Handy rendezvous.) While there, I bought a pile of tea towels in little Provencal gift shops, because they were pretty, and I love linens, and everyone can use a handy tea towel, right? I kept a few, and gave out several as gifts, including one to my MIL.
So that is what she sent me from the French gift shop. Her note said that it reminded her of my trip to France, a very special occassion, and she hoped it would bring back those memories for me, too. In fact, I had bought several of the very towel she sent me, kept one for myself, and it has since been either scorched or bleached or ripped or whatever else happens eventually to kitchen towels.So what a nice surprise, to get such a thoughtful little gift out of the blue. From my MIL!
In my 11 married years, I have learned that I am extaordinarily blessed to have such a good relationship with the mother of my husband. Not that there haven't been rough areas along the way. We have both gotten much better at choosing gifts for each other over the years. I chuckle at my clueless-ness when I think of the crystal candy dish I gave her for Christmas the year before my wedding. She is not the candy dish type.
It was fun watching my sister-in-law, who joined the family 5 years after me, learn through trial and error. The Christmas before her wedding, I watched our MIL open gifts from Lisa. First, a large pillar candle. Uh oh, I thought. Lisa must not have heard her talk about how dangerous candles are, and how my MIL's friends almost burned their house down when they left candles burning on the mantle while they went out to the hot tub and the oil painting caught on fire. She'll learn, I thought. Then my MIL opened the other part of the gift--assorted colorful holiday socks. We have a winner! That's exactly a gift my MIL can appreciate! I realized my future sister-in-law was learning faster than I thought.
We've gotten better at choosing gifts for each other, I suppose because we've gotten to know each other much better. And we've known each other for 18 years. So the tea towel out of the blue says a lot to me. Which means it's a perfect gift, n'est ce pas?