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The Best Milestone Anniversary Gift, Ever, for Your Daughter-in-Law

By Renee Lonner

Here’s the rundown on milestone anniversaries. I don’t know if they are still a thing, but just in case:

10 years –  Tin.  Really? Are they kidding? Who the hell wants tin?

15 years – Crystal. Forget it. Your son and daughter-in-law have half of their wedding crystal still in the original packaging. And who uses this stuff? Formal dinner parties – or formal anything for that matter – are out and stay in your pajamas is in. 

20 years – China. See above comment.

No matter which anniversary it is, if you are on your way to Bloomies, turn your car around and go home. Instead of racking your brain in a mall for a gift destined for the top shelf of a closet, give your daughter-in-law what she really wants and deserves – a heartfelt apology. After all, most, if not all, of your son’s bad habits are your fault – just ask him. Better yet, ask a therapist. You’re the mother – all roads lead back to you. (If you’re the mother and also happen to be a therapist, my deepest sympathies. Your son has no end of reasons to blame you for absolutely everything.)

Recite or chant the apology to your daughter-in-law in the manner of a confessional – like the one for High Holidays in Judaism or for Easter if you celebrate that holiday. They all have the same premise – you’ve sinned all year and you need to atone for it by fasting or suffering some other penance. In Judaism, the list of the sins you’ve committed is detailed for you over several pages, but I think in other religions, you get to be more creative in naming them.

Here is a template for your apology, to be added to in any way you’d like: 

First and foremost, for the fart contests that he loves to initiate with your older son.

Second, for the fart contests that he loves to join when initiated by your other sons or their friends.

Third, for the fact that most of these contests are initiated in the car, where you are trapped.

Next are non-fart-related apologies:

For the fact that he not only considers pulling the comforter up over a totally unmade bed “making the bed,” but he expects fanfare for it.

For the fact that while dating he showed off his cooking skills and has not cooked a single meal since BC (Before Children).

For the fact that he is role modeling the closet/floor interchangeability for your/his children.

For the fact that when he pulls something green and furry out of the fridge, he asks, in a serious tone, “Should I throw this out?”

For the fact that he “hides” his phone on his lap when you are out to dinner and thinks you don’t notice.

For the fact that he thinks “multi-tasking” is watching the kids watch TV while he is on the phone. 

For the fact that he also thinks the above is “babysitting.”

For the fact that the occasion that now triggers his buying you flowers is the need to apologize for any or all of the above.


For these and so many other things, you offer your deepest apologies and ask for forgiveness. Also, ask your daughter-in-law what she is doing to prevent the next generation of this behavior because you are curious. Umm, make that intensely curious. You can’t even imagine an answer since a basic confusion between “gross” and “funny” seems to be hard-wired – and therefore not your fault!

— Renee Burns Lonner

Renee Burns Lonner is a consultant for television newsrooms and a licensed therapist based in Los Angeles. Prior to the pandemic, her published work was serious; the pandemic created the need for comic relief and last fall she published her first humor book, If You Give A Man a Tesla: A Parody

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