Deep Thoughts

The Other Mrs. Glamore

There are two Mrs. Glamores: Bill’s mom and me.

Before you start mixing us up, let me hasten to add that I am not the one who drove her Mustang through town, failed to yield to a funeral procession, crashed into the hearse, and ended up with her picture in the paper. That would be the other Mrs. Glamore.

Also, the other Mrs. Glamore is a huge packrat. I’m not sure she’s ever thrown anything away, and I don’t know how she can stand it. When the boys are at school, I roam
through their rooms with a garbage bag, grabbing handfuls of plastic crap and tossing it without a second thought. When I’m in a particularly bad mood and a “masterpiece” is in the wrong place, I’ve been known to dispose of their art– even some of the pictures where they dipped their hands in paint and formed flowers out of tiny fingerprints.

The other Mrs. Glamore didn’t lose or throw away any of Bill’s art. Instead she framed it, and that is why I have a priceless picture Bill created around 1972. He drew a girl in a red dress with brown hair and in sure letters wrote “I bon’t like girls” across the top. It’s framed on the bookshelves in the den. Bill’s mom didn’t want to give it up– I had to arm wrestle her for it. Thank God I won.

She saved so much stuff that she has made two scrapbooks detailing Bill’s childhood, up until the time he graduated from college. She has all of his school pictures mounted and
labelled, so you can really appreciate what a skillful job his orthodontist did with a challenging set of buck teeth. She’s done the same with memorabilia from all her relatives, and my boys love looking at the old pictures of their great and great-great relatives standing by their buggies on the very same property where their
descendants live today.

She saved all of Bill’s old toys, too. When the boys are at her house they get to play with vintage Hot Wheels, metal trucks with sharp rusty edges and a real dried up turkey leg that serves as a pull for the light switch in one of the closets. She has Planet of the
Apes and Star Wars action figures and the Lone Ranger with all his clothes. Everytime they come home from a weekend at her house they bring something else that was Bill’s– his red corduroy robe, his polyester Auburn jersey, an arrowhead, an elephant statue. I’d be tempted to put all the stuff on eBay to get it out of my house and make a fortune, but she’s happy to keep it and let them strew it about her house.

His mom and I both know that Bill adores salad, but our salad-making philosophies differ. The other Mrs. Glamore makes salads like nobody’s business. She doesn’t just shake lettuce out of the bag and pour on some dressing. She candies walnuts, whisks together a homemade vinaigrette, chops cheese and green onions, and puts the salads on salad plates. She doesn’t think twice about the extra room those plates will take up in her dishwasher.

I think making salads is a pain in the ass. They require tons of chopping for something that’s not even the main course unless you’re a rabbit. Every week I buy salad in a bag, blue cheese, green onions, and a cucumber. If Bill wants a salad, he has all the ingredients and he can make it himself. Salad-wise, he’s dropped a notch since marrying me.

It’s all I can do to take care of my husband and my boys without going nuts. And if something unusual happens, like a trip to the hospital for breathing problems or stitches, you can be sure that I am going to let everyone know about it so I can garner the proper amount of sympathy.

The other Mrs. Glamore looks after lots of other people and makes it seem easy. From the moment I met her, she’s always had relatives to care for. I’ve watched her nurse her mother and father-in-law, father, and numerous aunts and uncles, all of whom lived to be quite elderly. And she doesn’t just call them occasionally, or visit on Sundays.

Mrs. Glamore wakes up early and makes homemade food and drives it out to the town where her relatives live so they have healthy meals. Some have had to move to the nursing home, and she checks on them and decorates all the doors on the hall with glittery paper for Christmas. She takes her relatives to their doctors’ visits or the emergency room as needed, but she doesn’t talk about it unless you ask her specifically how the great-greats are doing. She’s selfless that way.

Occasionally Bill and I will go away for a long weekend and she’ll come to our house and keep the boys. Actually, I suspect she might send them boys to another planet, because when we come back she’s accomplished more in a weekend than most humans without children can do in a lifetime. The house is clean. The laundry is folded. There’s dinner in the refrigerator, including a fancy salad. She’s soaked all the boys’ nasty socks in bleach overnight and run them through the washer twice in hot water to whiten them. One time we came home to find she’d refinished the dining room table in her spare time.

When I had my spine surgery two years ago, the other Mrs. Glamore kept the boys the whole time I was in New York. She realized she’d have to switch from the gum-giving
grandmother role into the substitute mom role. She asked for a list of the house rules and studied them carefully, and read a copy of How to Help Children Through a Parent’s Serious Illness for good measure. She didn’t flinch when I handed her the voluminous spreadsheet that detailed the carpools, appointments, practices, and school projects she’d be responsible for.

I didn’t worry about my boys for a nanosecond while I was away.

I don’t know of an official Happy Mother-In-Law Day, so I’m creating my own, and here it is.