I am so fortunate to have an awesome mother-in-law. Ima, as we fondly call her, is an embodiment of the Proverbs 31 woman. Hands-down. Here are some verses that aptly describe Ima (vv. 17-20,25-27).
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
That is why I could not identify with those who make mothers-in-law the butt of jokes. For example, a friend of mine from Costa Rica calls the ends of a loaf of bread “la suegra” (the Spanish word for mother-in-law). When I asked why, he said, “Porque es dura” (because it’s tough). Can you believe that? I know he was just being facetious but there are just too many seemingly innocent jokes like this. In reality, they hurt a lot. They put these women to shame. Apparently, in many cultures the mother-in-law is stereotyped as an overbearing villain.
Ima is one of countless women who breaks this stereotype. She is kind, loving and generous not just toward me but to all her children and their respective spouses. She is firm and fair, perceptive and purposeful, resilient and resolute. I feel like I hit the jackpot in this life: God gave me a wonderful wife and an equally remarkable mother-in-law. Double-blessing!
At the time of this article’s writing, Ima is in the hospital. Her 86-year-old body is starting to show its age. However, even in her bed of illness, Ima remains to be a source of unity and inspiration among her 10 children, in-laws, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I pray that Dahl and I would grow to become like Ima as we start becoming parents-in-law a few months from now. Thank you, and I love you, Ima.
I will pray for you. I will honor you; and not just you but all who have the same noble calling as yours. My intentions are clear.