Stories about sharing memories at home

How I Became the Favorite Son-in-law

Let me tell you a story about my mother-in-law. She lives across the country from all six of her children and their families.

My story actually starts with my sister-in-law Anne, who made a trip to visit her mother. Once she got settled in, she made her way to the kitchen, which always seems to be the social hub of the household. What she discovered was incredibly unsettling. In fact, she was seriously appalled—the only pictures on her mother’s refrigerator were ones that featured my daughters. And there wasn’t just one or two; the entire top of the fridge at eye level was completely covered with photos of my two girls.

Indignant, Anne confronted my mother-in-law. “Mom, why are only Ellen’s kids pictures on the fridge? I send you pictures weekly! I got you set up on Facebook so you could share the pictures!”

Her response was simple. Although she loves everyone equally, she confessed that Joe and Ellen send her actual PRINTS of pictures. And although she enjoyed getting pictures electronically, it was too much work for her to get the pictures onto the fridge from email or Facebook. And although physical prints take longer to transport than through email or social networks, once they arrived, they were ready to display.

It’s no surprise that since that fateful trip, my wife’s family has gone back to sending prints. Emails and Facebook can’t be beat for immediacy, but you can bet it’s more difficult to show them to your bridge group. Fridge photos win every time.


  1. Gary M says:

    I have discovered the same secret to becoming a favorite son-in-law. It is remarkable how prints can do so much to strengthen relationships with others as well.

  2. Frank says:

    If you like digital another option may be to send your mother-in-law a digital picture frame with the pictures already on it. They even have pocket sizes these days. Then you can mail her a flash card with new pictures occasionally that she just has to plug in.

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