Even before I met my mother-in-law-to-be, I wrote her. It was shortly before Mother’s Day in 1977. I’d been dating her son for a couple of months. When I bought the Mother’s Day cards for my mother and grandmothers in early May, I picked up a “To Someone Special” Mother’s Day card, wrote her a note, and mailed it. I wanted to thank her for raising such a nice son.
I told my soon-to-be-fiance what I’d done. I told him after the fact, so he couldn’t stop me. But I told him before the card would arrive, so he wouldn’t be surprised if his mother said something when they talked.
“I can’t believe it!” he said. “You wrote my mother!” He repeated this several times, clearly in shock. I guess no prior girlfriends had written his mother.
I didn’t think it was that unusual a thing to do. Mothers are an important factor in how their children turn out, and he had turned out well. She deserved to know she’d raised him right.
Regular readers of this blog know that nice son of hers and I have now been married over forty years. Throughout those four decades, his mother has been a big help to us. (His father was as well, but this post is about my mother-in-law.)
My in-laws lived ninety miles from us in Marshall, Missouri, and the trip between our houses was an easy drive. Due to proximity, my husband’s parents often took our children to visit for a week or so, particularly in summers, when the kids could enjoy the swimming pool or the lake house my in-laws owned. Holidays in Marshall were festive and joyous occasions. Even sick times were made better with Grandma’s care.
My children—and the cousins with whom they shared these grandparents—have fond memories of these visits. All it took was saying “Marshall” from the time the kids were toddlers to get them beaming and excited.
Even our dog learned the meaning of the word “Marshall” in his later years and wagged his tail at the prospect of a trip there. (He was banned from Marshall in his early years, but that’s another post.)
Today my mother-in-law turns ninety. We celebrated her birthday last weekend at a party with 150 or so of her friends. Her grandchildren recounted their childhood memories. Her great-grandchildren led us in singing “Happy Birthday.” Her friends celebrated the role she has played in the community, but the family celebrated three generations being raised right, in large part because of her.
Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law—who has been a blessing to me for forty years!