My mother-in-law, Shirley, and I never had what one might call an easy relationship. I realize this is not a rare thing. Rarer, I think are those fortunate enough to have true friendship and comfort with their spouse’s mother. Nevertheless, it surprised and unsettled me because I’d never met anyone quite like her. Her ways were so foreign to my own, which involved extreme shyness, low self-esteem and confrontation avoidance mixed with an arrogance that made me way too cool for, well, most things really. She was prone to extreme meddling, treated us as if we were still children, made comments on the way I dressed (“I sure wish you would wear pink instead of all that black.” “Dear, your lipstick is far too bright.”), she was very familiar with a shotgun, adored macrame and fanny packs, and the woman could hold a grudge like no one I’ve met since. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. I coped by keeping her at a comfortable distance and engaging, always politely, only when absolutely necessary. Thankfully, Bob was happy to do the same which is one of the reasons we’re still married.