When I grow up, I want to be like my mother-in-law.
Really. No mother-in-law jokes here in our house (The Husband and I both got lucky in that regard. My mom is pretty great, too).
My mother-in-law has always been a person to seek and embrace opportunities. She went to college before higher education was a common experience for any young adults, let alone women. She earned a graduate degree later in life and started a whole new career when her kids were in high school. She entered the digital age with complete enthusiasm, buying a computer (of course, a Mac!!), and calling us for every kind of technical assistance so that she could e-mail, upload pictures, and mostly, search the web for information about destinations she wanted to see. She and her husband traveled all over the world, mostly at her urging. They had visited multiple countries on five continents before he died last year. She has been involved in adult education classes and cultural interest groups for as long as I’ve known her: film clubs, book groups, preview tickets to Broadway shows, lecture series on every imaginable topic…you name it. She can talk about anything, and is interested in everything else.
When I was recovering from surgery this summer, she took the train to Massachusetts to keep me company. She was my driver (“Where should we go for lunch today?” she’d ask each morning), my shopping companion, and my conversation partner when I needed to recline on the couch. On one of our shopping trips, I rested in a chair while she tried on safari clothes. This fashion choice was no sartorial whim; she was planning a two-week trip to South Africa and Tanzania, from which she has just returned. LOVE this woman.
The African expedition had been high on her bucket list for a long time. Before she left, she enlisted The Husband’s help in selecting a new digital camera–a big step away from her trusty film model. She packed the new clothes, met her daughter at the airport, and off they went. She did everything (well, almost everything. She didn’t join my sister-in-law on the three-hour elephant ride). She took a gondola to the top of Victoria Falls. She rode in pre-dawn Land Rovers to see the big animals at the morning water hole. She visited historic sites and made friends with everyone on the tour group.
And now she’s home. Until the next adventure.