Happy Birthday Mimi!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Since I've been blogging, one of my most faithful readers has been my mother-in-law. I know she loves to get updates on the family and see recent pictures since she lives 3,000 miles away. But she always takes the time to comment on the posts where I really share my heart. Her love language is definitely "words of affirmation" and she speaks them so effortlessly. I don't think she really understands how encouraging her words are because it comes so naturally to her.

This morning when I looked at the calendar and was reminded of her birthday today, I thought "now this calls for a post."

It seems that most complaints about mother's-in-law center around too much meddling. This has never been an issue here. She has a healthy respect for our marriage and our family and only gets involved if we ask her to. Even if she has had issues with me (and I'm sure there have been plenty over the years) she has never said a coarse word about me to my husband. How many of us can say that about our husband's mom? It's a trait I want to emulate when I am in her shoes.

I still remember when Trey and I were planning our move to Washington D.C. My intended living situation changed a few weeks before we were leaving. Through Trey, his mom communicated that I was welcome to live with them. We hadn't even met!!! One night I mustered up the courage to call and thank his parents for their offer. A few days later I received a letter in the mail thanking me for making the first contact. The letter ended with "we have always been fond of anyone who brings our son happiness, which is why I'm sure we will adore you." Awwww. Once again, her words slayed me.

We spent the first 10 years of our marriage within driving distance of their house. The day we packed up to head west, I know it was killing her to watch us load our belongings and her grandbabies and move as far away from them as possible while still living in the U.S. She never let on that she was thinking of anything except what was best for our family. She always makes the most of our time together. In fact this summer when one of my boys stained her carpet with food for what seemed like the 100th time, my son said "sorry, Mimi" and as she jumped up to get the rug cleaner, I heard her say, "I'm just glad y'all are here!" Well said.

My all-time favorite memory was my 40th birthday. She decided she wanted to hand-deliver my present and join in on the 50's party. I foiled her surprise when I got up in the middle of the night and heard some noise in the basement. I went down there to discover her in the guest room eating a bowl of cereal. I was blown away. She had never come out her by herself, and I know she caught flack for it, but the fact that she was willing to do that for me was birthday present enough. But she didn't stop there. Since 2000, I have been making her a yearly scrapbook for Christmas of our family's past 12 months. It's my favorite thing to do every December and it's the only gift she wants year after year. (or so I think) She decided it was my turn to have someone make a book for me. We cozied up on the sofa the next morning and she handed me the most precious gift I've ever received: a book with 40 pages--each one dedicated to one of the 40 reasons why she loves me. Now that alone is a tall order for anyone. Without a doubt, it is one of my most prized possessions.

If they say a man marries a woman a lot like his mother, then based on my experience, I take that as a huge compliment.

Happy Birthday, Mimi!!! May the time and effort you invest in others be returned to you today! Thanks for emulating who I want to be when I finally get some girls in this family.

Celebrating the October birthdays.

Just before I became the other woman in her son's life.


3 Responses to “Happy Birthday Mimi!”

Jeremy Saunders said...

What a sweet post! My mom in law is much the same way. What a blessing that is--I think I take it for granted some times when I hear people complain about their inlaws! Thanks for the reminder!

Donna G said...

What a compliment your post is to your and Nancy's relationship. Trey has two great women in his life. Miss you guys!

JulieB said...

Okay, I am a bit behind in my blog reading but there is a reason for that! In order for me to take in your words I need to have time and the space to fully engage in the experience. Why? Because without fail, your writing renders me an emotional wreck :) Tears stream down my face over a smile that is created out of your words of honor. Not only do you honor the people in your life, but the moments as well...for a few minutes I am blessed with being included in your world and yet somehow come away with your gift of being more appreciative of what I have...Mimi knew all those years ago what a treasure she was about to recieve, BEFORE she even met you Dana. I am lucky that for the past 20 years that same treasure has been a part of my world. I love you and thank you for giving such an intimate part of yourself!