We were riding in my car yesterday-Mothers Day... Mike and I.. the two boys and our daughter and....that's it. Just the five of us. It was weird. We joked about about how weird it was and wondered when the last time was... when only the five of us were together. It was when Mike was in San Francisco in a hospital bed in the ICU and we had just.. received some very scary news.
This afternoon we were on our way to the cemetery. Mike had asked his three grown children to take him to put fresh flowers on his mother, Nellida's, tomb for Mother's Day. Somehow, all three of them.. felt the importance of his new request. So even tho... at first..they only reluctantly agreed to go, I knew they got what their dad's point was. So, there we were.. all climbing into my car. As if .. they were little again.
Earlier that day, my daughter-in-law, Amberlynn, prepared her first Mothers Day brunch for ...me! Wes and she had cordially invited my mother, my daughter and my sisters to share in their heart-felt endeavor and treat. They worked hard on getting their yard in shape and planted pretty flowers on the patio where they served the lunch. Her dad, and the rest of our family came as well, as we seem to always do everything as a group. It was a delight.
Now, I realize Amber works hard at her job as a civil engineer, where lately she has been putting in many over- time hours ...as well as taking on additional school this semester towards earning a Masters degree at the University, so I know, this week she has been up to her elbows with finals. But Wes and she put out a lovely spread of fruits and cuts of various meats/cheeses for sandwiches. And their spectacular Greek salad was perfectly prepared. She finished off her table with homemade cupcake brownies and delicious cheesecakes! I was so impressed! She made me feel truly special and her effort to make my Mother's day and make everyone else's nice, too...it was filled with affection and it showed in her presentation. You might be pleased when your own kids do nice things for you, but it's esp. sweet when their spouses show they care. (I have a son-in-law..who is a treasure, too..I know, I'm so lucky.) Thanks, Wes and Amber, for inviting my family there.
Mothers are supposed to feel special as we all know on Mother's Day, and we (usually) unconditionally love them..........but mother-in-laws??..well that can be another story. Right? I mean how many of us have a loving, congenial relationship with our Mother-in-law?
I met mine when I was very young. So at first it was hard and I think I kind of resented her for her intrusion of our lives. And I always felt like I didn't somehow ever measure up to her expectations. Measure up to expectations of what??.... I surely didn't know at the time... I was just learning about who I was? And also.....because I didn't quite know who I was or wanted to be.....I couldn't possibly know what she could possibly expect me to be-I hardly knew what my new husband expected of me besides -uhmmm..well...you know.
One thing I was sure of...she loved her son! And wanted the best for him. And that meant for me to be a good wife. What did I know about being a good wife? Eh? What was a good wife? Dinner on the table at 6:00? He needed to be a good husband as far as I was concerned! I remember thinking she probably didn't like me because of how inadequate I was..I sure felt that way when I was around her sometimes. I just knew...I must have seemed that way to her, too. But when I had my own precious daughter, I knew I had the convidence to be a good mother and for that... she would just have to respect me. And so I did my job well.
As time went on.. my opinion of her began to change. Over the many years, I came to realize..... she was just being a good mother, too! It wasn't about liking me or not liking me! She probably always liked me, maybe even loved me from the start. We had so much in common! After all..we loved the same people!
I wish we could have had continued our relationship onto our older ages as I enjoy my own Mom so much, now. Nellie was a great lady. She taught me a lot about how to be a better wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and human being. I didn't really get it all way back then. I was learning. My heart aches when I think of how much... our family missed out....her wealth of knowledge..her guidance and her pure strength. This wonderful lady would have given my children so much as they grew through their lives. She showed me how to be a better person. Isn't it wonderful how people come into your life to teach you something, but you may not know what that lesson is until after you've learned it?
I miss her. She died when she was 52 years old and I was 28......Amber's age.
So, Sunday, after entering the mausoleum, the kids knew the routine. Wes went and got the ladder, while Tom held it for his dad as he climbed up the steps and pressed a gentle kiss on his mothers tomb, saying a prayer, giving the sign of trinity, then taking down the goblets of old spent flowers. Keely would walk back with me where we would clean the goblets and put in the fresh flowers. As I climbed the steps and rested my kissed fingers on my Mother-in-laws cold marble..I thanked her for raising such a decent man, and teaching him the morals and values that he has passed on to his kids ...along with his very large sense of love of FAMILY, even though he was an only child..and in spite of being an only child! I respect that about her more than anything else ... my Mother-in Law, Nellida.
I've opened my arms up to Amber....and I hope I can be the mother-in law that Nellie became to me..maybe even better. Amber you made me feel like you've opened up your arms to me this Sunday. Words won't convey how it made me feel. I appreciate being part of your life. I love you, Kay ....aka Mom.