Learning to be an M.I.L. tops resolutions

Hello, 2013! You and I are about to become creative co-conspirators. As 2012 may have told you, I always draft a significant list of resolutions I intend to accomplish throughout the year. I take them pretty seriously, and do a decent job of checking them off before the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. When it comes to personal improvement, this woman needs a plan.

I began this year’s resolution list several weeks ago — between Thanksgiving turkey and discombobulated Christmas shopping. It features another challenging round of running goals, including two spring half marathons scheduled one week apart, and training for my second full marathon this fall. Peeling the equivalent of a 10-pound sack of potatoes from my bum made the cut, as did conquering scary closets on the verge of swallowing me with a slurp and a belch. Toasting the last tuition payment Hunka Burning Hubby and I will ever make to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is there, too, before our youngest son, Magnet, graduates in May.

“Done with my resolutions!” I smugly told Hunka a couple weeks ago. “I am going to ‘own’ 2013!”

That’s when my guardian angel told me I was getting too big for my britches on both ends of the scale. “Your world is about to get a lot more interesting,” she said.
Boy, was she right.

“Learning to be a mother-in-law” now tops the chart. That happened when our oldest son, Rocket, turned his girlfriend, Trooper, into his fiancee — God bless their wonderful hearts.
Hunka and I danced a happy jig at the big news, singing, “We’re going to be in-laws!” with fabulous flair. Well, I danced and caterwauled while Hunka plugged his ears and closed the curtains.

Suddenly it dawned on me that I was gaining a daughter, and hadn’t a clue what that entails. Images of Gert Boyle, the famous “tough mother” chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear, sprang to mind — complete with an “eat dirt and die” expression spilling over the top of her glasses. That countenance is her brand, and she’s made a fortune selling Columbia sportswear to buyers who expect their goods to pass her discerning eye. Gert is one smart cookie, but when it comes to mothering of the in-law persuasion, I’m shooting for a mix of Laura Bush and Betty White.

As a guy mom, I’m in uncharted territory. I’ve scraped bits of tire rubber from my face at drag races, and can identify the smell of nitro methane fuel at 50 paces. But show me a cologne counter in a department store and I’m paralyzed with fear. I have an impressive collection of running shoes and hiking boots, but footwear of the feminine kind are buried deep within my man-eating closet.

So 2013 is my year to girl-up and noodle through this mom-in-law business; to eradicate all Gert Boyle-semblances from my psyche, and wrap myself in a cloak of Betty White. I’ll go to the mat to welcome the remarkable Trooper to my family. I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled at the task. Tips and advice are welcome and vastly appreciated.

And my guardian angel will have a busy 2013.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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