On opening my eyes this morning, I reached for my phone, and after scrolling through headlines for the Washington Post, I tapped on my blog reader and began my rounds. Among my stops, I read Mary Moon's gorgeous report on being at the circus with her grandkids, and Elizabeth's sublime reflection on love, all kinds of love, and having a strong back, and the redemptive power of friendship and art, then Grady Doctor's musing about the kinds of men her tender boys will grow up to be, and Rebecca's continuing exploration of her island, and by the time I got to Sabine's memory of the final days of her beloved mother in law, I was weeping, big fat tears on my pillow, and that's how my day started.
I lay there, gutted by memories of my own. Memories of my own mother in law, who was one of the kindest, most loving, faithful, and hardest working women on this earth, who I am forever grateful was one half of the magnificent pair of souls who raised my husband. Today, I am missing my mother in law fiercely. Everything changed in the family after she died, the bonds loosened, she had been the glue. I am no longer mourning how things settled out, I am at peace with what is, knowing I can love from afar, send prayers over the water, and let it be. Still, I miss how we all were when our Nana was alive.
Most of all, I miss her visits to New York to shop wholesale for her store, and the bags and bags of clothes in our living room, as night after night, Mom folded and packed, folded and packed, the children flattening the billowy plastic dress covers into neat piles, all of us talking, laughing, watching TV, telling lively stories, always, always the stories. She was so careful not to intrude on our parenting choices. She never once instructed how we should raise or discipline our kids. I knew it was a conscious decision on her part, and I was grateful to her for it. And when my own children become parents, I hope I will remember her example, and the freedom and ease it allowed in our relationship. I pray my children will be as lucky in their in laws as I have been. I had the very best.