(Deep breath). I’m about to say something you won’t hear very often. I certainly don’t hear it very often, but I can say it with confidence: I have the coolest mother-in-law on the block.
Yep, no doubt that’s not something you hear every day, huh!? It’s pretty cool to be able to say that. Now that I’ve just added a few more brownie points with her, let’s see how many I lose as I try to explain this.
You see my mother-in-law is a very, ahem, intense individual. She is the smartest person on the planet for one, and she has the ability to focus and give more energy to a task than anyone I know (although her offspring, my wife and her sisters both are moving in the right direction). Once she sets her mind on accomplishing something or figuring something out, she is ALL IN.
The output is the most dedicated volunteer any organization has ever seen. The most energetic party host. The most engaged “Mimi” when it comes to fun for the grandkids, and a heck of a scrabble player. Oh yeah, did I mention she runs more miles every week than many “serious” 21 year old runners I know? Oh yeah, and did I mention she is an FAA Instrument Rated Pilot with ratings for high-performance aircraft and a nice little logbook of flying airplanes around?! She was the motivator for me to learn to fly. When Margaret and I were still dating, she suggested that I go take a lesson over Christmas holiday from school. When I asked her if she was kidding, she said “Johnson, there are two things we don’t joke about in this family: flying and spearfishing.” She then literally drove my butt to the airport and plopped me down with Irv Nesmith for my first flying lesson. Obviously, I never looked back and can thank her for that motivation.
So I hope I’ve painted an accurate picture of her and added a few more brownie points. Now it’s time to blow them. (deep breath)…
You see, there are the occasions where this intensity and focus on a task can be focused in a direction or on a task, that.. well, let’s say, is a different direction than where others might go… or on a different task than others might choose to focus. I will give myself some chance of surviving this post and leave out examples. BUT HERE’s THE POINT (finally!)… one time I was having an “open and direct” opinion sharing session (we’ll call it that) with her about how I felt about the task she was currently focused on. Her response is the lesson learned here. She said:
Johnson, you don’t get the good parts of me without the rest of me. So just keep that in mind when you get frustrated with me.
What a powerful statement! She was right! You don’t get exceptional awesomeness from anything without some downsides to serious intensity. You don’t get a driven, successful entreprenuer without some personality quirks. You can’t raise a kid who will push himself, his boundaries, and his abilities without dealing with him pushing his behavior boundaries, and teacher patience at school. As I’ve learned to take this wisdom into my daily living, it helps me keep the long game, the big picture, in mind. When a personality trait or quirky relationship issue bothers me, I simply slow down and ask myself is it worth the down side to get the good side? It almost always is.
Now, if you ever meet another blogger brave enough to write about his mother-in-law, I’d like to meet the crazy SOB.