Unlike the stereotypical husband, I am blessed with having my mother-in law here for two weeks. She normally stays for Christmas at my sister-in-law's, but as that family has had a year that makes the Book of Job look like a Barbara Cartland novel, she has come to us.
First blessing: we told the children (17 and 14) that Grandma might come to stay for Christmas and that would mean a lot of work before, during and after. "Mint!" was the reaction. ("Mint" is better than "cool".)
Second blessing: "Do you two want to go out so that we can Grandma-sit?" No, actually, because it's so many (ie 17) tears since we've been out together that we wouldn't know what to talk about, but what a delightful thought!
Third blessing: "Can I bring my friends in to meet Grandma?" And in troop teenagers, incredibly polite, just to meet somebody who is 83 years old and who treats them as though they were friends of her own age and generation.
Fourth blessing: children arranging the TV schedule around what Grandma might want to watch. "Oh dear! We won't be able to watch x: never mind - we can record it."
Fifth blessing: out for a walk and son says "Watch where you're walking Grandma: you're the only grandparent I have left!" and while wife and I look daggers at him, he and his Grandma burst out laughing.
Sixth blessing: my wife has her mother to stay for Christmas.
Seventh blessing: family. Christmas, and the Feast of the Holy Family, have added value this year because of an added and extremely welcome visiter.
And the stories: "My mother-in-law was a tailoress and did big dresses and hats so that when her mother was going to Nazareth (the chapel, not the town!) she couldn't walk on the pavement because her dress would brush against the walls, and she wouldn't walk in the gutter, so every Sunday she would walk to chapel down the middle of the road."
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