I just read Jane's email about her M-I-L, and it brought back memories. I, too, had a lovely second Mom, or 'Mother-In-Love.' It didn't start out that way for a variety of reasons, but it ended that way. Early in our marriage after a particularly stressful visit, my husband pointedly told his mom that I came first now and basically not to make him choose between us. I knew where he stood, and so did she.
Visits by her were twice a year, and our love for each other grew over time. Our sons loved Grandma's visits, and we have great memories. A few years after Mom retired, she talked of coming only once a year, and we were all heartbroken. During one of our chatty phone calls, she said told me she couldn't afford anymore the fun excursions we'd all take on her visits--trips to Great America theme park, or movies with all the treats we wanted. I was horrified and told her we wanted HER, not her expensive treats! And with that said, she came for her visits as usual. She and I watched old musicals on VHS tapes while the kids were at school, and we just had fun. She never interfered between my husband and I, or challenged how we raised our sons. I came to love her deeply, and she loved me.
She passed away 22 years ago, and I miss her still. Thanks for reminding me again how blessed I was to have a good Mother-In-Love.