Her birthday passed by just the other day and I thought of her, even though she’s been gone for such a long time. She is the second incredible female born in May who influenced my life in a wonderful way.
Often when I remember her I wonder, “Did I tell her enough how much I appreciated her? Did she realize how much she meant to me?”
She welcomed me into her life with open arms. I can’t remember one time when we had words of disagreement. She only offered me approval and affection and she always seemed genuinely glad to see me, hug me tightly and kiss my cheek.
She was my mother-in-law. When I hear others criticize or complain about their mothers-in-law, I cringe. I honestly never had those kind of opinions about the mother of my husband. She never gave me reason to.
She didn’t interfere with our lives or decisions. She didn’t offer advice unless we asked for it. She was a thoughtful, quiet and unassuming lady who treated me with great kindness. And I think she loved me like a daughter.
When we visited my husband’s parents, my elderly mother-in-law became so excited. She stocked her pantry with food she knew we liked;, she loved to cook breakfast for us each day. She treated us to our favorite things, and enjoyed visiting other relatives with us. She would cry when we arrived for a visit, and she would weep again when we departed.
She greeted the arrival of her grandchildren with great love and pride, taking picture after picture of them (sometimes inadvertently cutting their parents’ heads out of the frame with her camera aim). But she never cut me out of her life. We chatted long-distance by phone often and she eagerly wanted to hear the latest escapades of our lives.
She never forgot a birthday or our anniversary and she was extremely generous. One of the loveliest gifts she ever bestowed on me was a ring. Her ring. It doesn’t hold much monetary value, but soars in sentimental worth.
Set in a simple gold band is an opal, a gem I’ve always loved. Purchased by my father-in-law for my husband’s mother shortly after their marriage, the ring adorned her finger for over 55 years.
Once I remarked how lovely it was and apparently, she never forgot that. During one visit, she surprised me by confiding in me that she wanted me to have her ring. And shortly after my father-in-law passed away, my dear mother by marriage, presented the ring to me. I have treasured it ever since.
But more than that worn ring, I treasured her. How could I not love the hands that lovingly held and nurtured my beloved one? How could I not respect and honor the mother who guided that little boy to become the outstanding man he became, took him to Sunday School and church to learn more about the God he serves?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “Men are what their mothers made them.” To not love my mother-in-law seemed equal to not loving my husband. She treated me as a much-loved member of her family, the daughter she never had as the mother of all sons. And I loved her back.
The last time I spoke with her before she passed away, we talked briefly on the phone. Even though she was very ill, her concern was for us. “How are the kiddies?” she asked. And I related the latest news of her grandchildren. The last thing she asked me that day was “When are you coming home?”
“We’ll come see you soon,” I assured her. But it was too late. The next day she went home to be with the Lord.
When I catch a faint scent of Chantilly perfume wafting by me, I always think of my mother-in-law as it was her favorite cologne. On this 7th page in Chapter 5 of my Opportunity book, I contemplate the fact that next year I will become a mother-in-law for the first time.
I hope to follow in my own sweet mother-in-law’s footsteps since she lovingly demonstrated with her words and deeds what a blessing a mother-in-law can and should be. Those are the lessons she taught me.
Happy Mother’s Day, mother of my beloved; I miss you still.
“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”~ Goethe