I'm taking a break with the ghost series as it seems that there's a ghost preventing me from sharing it at this late hour. In the meantime, I do have something...
Here's some healthy piece of advice which I hope will be of great assistance to all of you mother-in-laws. I do not claim to be the intelligent composer of it; it comes from someone by the name of Shu Mei. Here is what she wrote:
I have a lesson or two from a very dear friend of mine. Through her I learn to see from her eyes and even though I am in the so-called 'daughter-in-law' group, I learnt to be less harsh on the older, 'mother-in-law' of the society.
My friend has come to live with her only son and daughter-in-law after she lost her husband of many years. Her loss is unbearable and she is still suffering an emptiness of heart. Though she has in a way 'lost' her son and 'found' him again, it could never fill the vacuum. Her son has his own life to live and that she accepted readily and philosophically.
Lesson one from her: Never be shocked by what your son or daughter-in-law do, and keep quiet all the time if necessary. If your son drinks beer from cans, and his friends play mahjong the whole night through, let them have their fun and keep a low profile.
Lesson two: Don't ever interfere with your daughter-in-law's choice or taste. She may be ultra-modern or old-fashioned, just beam at the clothes your grandchildren wear and tell them to be neat and presentable, that's all. Do not go and say, "in my days, I dressed up my children...". You'll upset the whole household by commenting too much.
Lesson three: Do not ever mention an incident more than once. She told me that once her granddaughter broke her bottle of hair oil, and she just quietly mentioned that to her daughter-in-law, who reasonably replaced the bottle. As she never mentioned it again, her daughter-in-law was very grateful and her grand-daughter later became the most filial of the brood.
Lesson four: Give your son and daughter-in-law a break once in a while. Tell them that you wouldn't mind staying at home and mind the children while they go off on an evening out. Your over-worked daughter-in-law would be most delighted at your kindness and naturally this is not too difficult to do.
Lesson five: Remember you are living with your son and you should not control him in any way. He is no longer a little boy whom you have to look after and guide in the best of your ability. As a grown man, he needs self-respect and he needs to make up his own mind. If you keep your wisdom to yourself, you may be in less awkward situations.
I can see that this wise lady has a fine philosophy of fine living. Such finer qualities can seldom be found unless we train ourselves for a long time. And I hope that my younger friends and I too will grow to be understanding mother-in-laws like her in the years to come.