I was thrilled when I heard this month's topic would be in-laws. In my usual state of confusion, I forgot to post this a few weeks ago. With Thanksgiving coming up, perhaps now is the right time. If you will be spending time with your out-laws or in-laws, treasure it.
My mother-in-law died of cancer in 2004. A few weeks before Little Guy hit made his dramatic entrance into the world, I was unable to travel for the funeral because of my advanced pregnancy and a nasty sickness. I clearly remember going to a doctor I had never met, getting a throat culture and blubbering like a baby to him about how much I would miss her. A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to assure him that I'd be o.k.
Now don't get me wrong here, I understand the victory of death as a Christian. I knew Anne was through suffering and in the presence of God. I was just crying for myself. My sister-in-law asked for a letter or a memory for me to send along. This was my pre-blogging life. I was long-winded. I needed to remember her and write it down. I'm posting it unedited except for name changes.
To my Mother-in-law:
I want to thank you for all you have done and shown me in the 12 years I have had the privilege of knowing you. I married your only son and therefore I inherited the title of favorite daughter-in-law. I am blessed, my close friends even admitted their jealousy. They loved you and wished to have you for their own mother-in-law. When you visited us, we did everything together. You took the time to get to know all of my friends. You joined us for concerts, sporting events and even let us take you on almost every tourist attraction in the Northeast. You never mentioned if you were too tired or if we were pushing you too much. You gave of yourself unselfishly.
You had your priorities right. You wanted to be with your family. You invested your time into your family. There was always time for another story to be read to the boys or another game of checkers or Uno. You showed me motherhood, in your sharing the tales of raising my husband. You loved him unconditionally. You encouraged his passions. You have shown me tolerance, not for sin, but for adventure. You told me how you cringed while driving from the mice factory with a car load of mice so the Gman could feed his snakes. But you did it! You let the Gman develop his interests without your inflicting your own opinions. Because of you, I don’t say no when Paperboy and Random find a snake. You let him pursue boyhood interests while growing into a man. You raised a son that knows how to enjoy his family.
You showed your commitment to Christ to my family. You were faithful to read Gods Word daily. You prayed. You prayed for your family continually. You were committed to your church. While visiting us you joined us in our commitment to our church. You desired to know our family of believers. You and I would take time to go out with the ladies when you visited. On the telephone, you often would ask how is so and so. You showed concern for my friends even as your health was failing. You had also showed Len and others Christ’s love in action daily. When Len had the stroke you were there for him. You were such a hard worker. You got up early enough to get him dressed and ready before you had to get ready for work. There were bills to be paid and you faced it. You comforted him in his last days.
You had the gift of diplomacy. You were the peace maker. You had the kind words to soften the situation. You had the ability to smooth the awkward conversations. You also had the spunk and the certainty of your faith. On your trips to our home, we had many hours while the Gman was working to reminisce, share and even debate. You had the skill of discussing issues without letting them get personal. We could debate politics or doctrine and still remain close. You could artfully change the subject, you knew neither of us would change our minds, and you made sure there were no hard feelings.
Another way you demonstrated your love for me and my family was in your thoughts. Each trip north, you would bring a small gift for me and the kids. Just to say “I was thinking of you when we weren’t together”. You even showed my brother’s wife, and their children that same thoughtfulness. Your small gestures of love touched her life. You are already missed. But you have left your many gifts with us. I will guard them as treasures. I will try to pass on these qualities to your grandchildren. I will keep them fresh in my mind, when facing another parenting obstacle. I will think of you as I read in Proverbs. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband (also), and he praises her: Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”
You were a wonderful mother-in-law and I thank God for the time He gave us together. I will love and miss you, but I know we will see each other again because of Christ.
Love always, Terri