One thing I have learned to really savor in my life is my relationship with women that are older and wiser than I. While it may be true that some of the advice we get from the older guard may be outdated, inaccurate, or just plain weird (in our minds), its important to remember that when we are the older guard, the youngin’s will think the same thing about our pearls of wisdom.
Now, that said, I have found that it is important to listen to everything they say to you. They really are wiser than you are, and sometimes the weirdest advice actually works. My Mother-in-Law has astounded me on occasion with suggestions and advice I have never heard in my entire life. There have been the simple, every day things, and the really important ones too. She always told Art that someday she’d have a Daughter-in-law and that she would treat her like her own since she never had any other children (thus, no girl.) In my younger years, I didn’t always understand the way of the older generation, but I’m amazed by how much I have learned in hindsight. Things about life, love, and even the kitchen that I would have had to learn through “trial and terror” without her motherly instruction.
So, here is my Thursday 13, written with much gratitude.
1. How to buy clothes that really fit. She taught me the value of fabric, fit, cut, and style. I think my sense of style is greatly shaped by her influence. She always looks like a lady, and I picked that up from her.
2. How to get volume in your hair. I remember VIVIDLY getting up early one day before work when I was 19, newly married to her son, and living in her home so that she could blow dry my hair and teach me the wonders of velcro rollers.
3. Turning your clothes inside out on the clothes line will help to keep them from being sun-bleached.
4. How to make incredible, incredible, incredible homemade macaroni and cheese. It’s the kind of mac and cheese that MY children will talk about and say “My mom said my grandma taught her how to make this years ago.”
5. Ironing really does matter, and starch makes all the difference. I was 16 when I met her, and I SWEAR I had never even heard of starch.
6. Good shoes make a difference. You only get one pair of feet. Take care of them. My MIL has really adorable feet, and I really think its due to the fact that she always buys good shoes, and takes care of them. (the shoes and the feet!)
7. Nothing in the kitchen should intimidate you. If you can follow a recipe, and know your kitchen terminology, you can cook just about anything.
8. Murphey’s oil soap is amazing.
9. Follow the manufacturers directions on all clothing. It makes a difference. She is proof that you really can have a dress for 2 decades and have it still look brand new. “Permanent Press” ..two words I had never heard before her advice.
10. Waste not, want not. My mother instilled this in me as well, but watching my MIL in action took resourcefulness to a whole new level.
11. Stock up on cake mix for those cold months. Baking a cake will heat up the house, and really, is it ever a bad time for Betty Crocker?
12. How to make incredibly tasty, authentic mexican food. The every day kind of stuff that is never on any Mexican restaurant menus.
13. She did a darn good job on my husband. He is a remarkable man, and the perfect example of “His Mama raised him right.”