Tonight I will be attending a dinner celebration for my former mother-in-law. She is 90 years old as by now you may gather from the title. The children, 8 of them, will be in attendance. Spouses, grandchildren and great grandchild will also be there. And well, a former daughter-in-law. This may seem odd but given this woman it is not. She is someone I was very close with for nearly 2 decades.
The truly amazing part of this woman is how she is a beacon of love and acceptance. SOme mistake acceptance and approval. SHe is such an example of someone who shows unconditional love for those fortunate enough to be someone she loves. Her life was certainly not easy with miscarriages, a husband who worked hard and long hours , a gang of children to raise. She has lived in the same area- and by area, I believe she told me it was quite nearly the same block-if I remember correctly- for her entire life. She did do some travelling. She and her husband did take a trip and I can’t recall if the kids were along or not. They had raised their children to be so well behaved that I do believe they could have attended a white house dinner and not have been embarrassed along the way by any ill manners. She has been the consummate seamstress- as she pointed out , living in what began as a coal town, with one income for all of them, and not a dime of government assistance along the way, one learns to make do. The clothes were well kept, no ragamuffin looks among them. She has an unwavering faith that has withstood more tests than we can imagine. She has known great love and equally great heartache, devastating injury to a son for whom she has cared along with nurses who come into the apartment they made for him. He was a young man when he had the car accident. She has known the loss of a grandchild- a heartbreak of itself and to experience your daughter and her husband experience it must be agonizing. She has been proud of her children and knows sadness by some choices made. She lost a daughter-in-law to cancer and knows the pain in her daughter’s eyes as she deals with such a loss. This woman was someone ahead of her time- before the media took on gay rights, she already had opened her heart to her daughter’s choice of a life partner with acceptance and love. This beautiful woman has shown us all the meaning of love, the doing of it. Her whole life has been a labor of love. It will take all 27 of us ,her departed husband, the heavens literally to express our love and appreciation for all that she is and has been.
One of the obvious first things you learn about this lady is what a great cook she is. It’s one of the first things because it is in her dna that a person be fed if they have come to your home. Feed you she will. Her left-overs would vie the best of restaurants. She would feed tyou to your heart’s content- because she would stretch the bounds of your stomach’s content. Her meals were truly an art form in beauty, chemistry, and taste. She held with centuries of tradition for holiday meals. It truly has been one of my all time favorite places to enjoy the Christmas holidays (have loved Christmas eve traditions there.) The family still maintains the traditions and have even expanded the carol experience complete with recopied books and lyrics (especially helpful for the camping songs which find their way into the festivities. Most of the family has chosen to join her in going to church services during this time period. She has graciously and patiently saw her children through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood- remaining the same force, the same person with the same purpose in life. She truly has been someone devoted to her children and someone who really has achieved the goal of living her love. I am not sure there is any higher purpose. I am unsure there is one that be so tried in life. I would say her goals were accomplished. Her children all fine people, were her driving concern along with her living a life of great faith. She fulfills that with everyday of living. She is such a kindly woman, who loves children,enjoys reading avidly,loves to laugh. She can be proud of who and how she is. I have been blessed to know her, to love her and to be loved by her. I am blessed that she has been such a wonderful influence and example for my children in dealing with life and adversity. I pray her party tonight brings back beautiful memories and much joy of a life well lived, of a life which continues to be well lived. Sorry but cutting it too close to be as focused as I wish I were.
There are many reasons in life for people to enjoy a party. This is one of the best reasons to celebrate that I know.