Thursday, May 8, 2008

An Ode to Dorothy

I'm on the wagon again. Come join me as I participate in We are THAT Family 's blog carnival entitled:

Sincerely Fro' Me To You.

Her instructions seem easy enough to me: "We just want to read about something that will never see the inside of a scrapbook either because it's not worthy or because you can't find your fancy crinkle cut scissors." Um, I've yet to make any scrapbook and all my pictures are thrown in a trunk. And not in an organized trunk, but literally thrown in. As I was forced to see last night at 9 pm when I was picking up piles to go through in search of a recent family picture my 7 yr old needs for school ~ tomorrow!

However, even if I was able to have my family's life creatively documented and bound, this picture wouldn't have made the cut. Not because it isn't worthy, or I couldn't find my fancy scissors, or the fact that one of my older kids took it, but because it's not the most flattering pic. It shows my mother in law, Dorothy, as I've seen her many times at the end of her visits to my house. This is an ode to Dorothy in honor of Mother's Day!

We've clearly exhausted this woman! She drives four hours to see us, and we've planned her arrival to the minute. After the kids help her bring her things into the house, I wave a combo hello/goodbye on my way out! Well, she offered! She usually calls a few days before she is to arrive and asks if her son and I can go out at all while she's here. With his work schedule combined with whatever event has brought her north, there is only a 50-50 shot of this happening. However, she always tells me then to find a friend to go to dinner with or go shop by myself or whatever. Dontcha just love her already????

She also is a work horse, old school style. She can't stand to sit still when there are things to be done. She takes over the "cleaning up after the children" duties including the dreaded folding and putting away of the laundry (and with four of them, there is ALWAYS laundry to be folded and put away). I like to cook, so when I make dinner, she'll do the kitchen cleanup! She comes and makes the kids do a spring clean in their rooms regardless of the season. She is the master of the old newspaper and glass cleaner on the french doors. When we are entertaining for whatever event she is here for, she is a bit socially shy so she tends to stay in the kitchen cleaning up. After getting over feeling like I take advantage of her, it works for both of us!

She is also the most patient game player with the kids. She plays endless rounds of uno, bs, go fish, spoons, trash, war and rummy. And don't even get the kids started on the board games. The only two board games in my closet I haven't actually witnessed her playing (which doesn't mean she doesn't when I'm not here) are Twister and Chicken Limbo. She trumps me even in video games, though neither of us will play. She at least will watch them; I refuse. If I don't even want to play the game, how much fun do you think it will be to watch you play it??

When she visits us, she sleeps with my ten year old daughter who flails in her sleep. My daughter has legs ~ankle to hip~ two inches longer than mine and she ain't afraid to use them! She kicks, hits, huffs, puffs and is always half on and half off the bed. Can you imagine the cover situation?? Yet, Dorothy always says she slept just fine.

She keeps her advice to herself. Do you know how hard that is to someone like me, who looks for any opportunity to share whatever wisdom I believe I have? Her ex mother in law didn't just seem to give advice, she also insisted she take it. Dorothy is the most non confrontational woman as they come so it was easier for her to just go with the flow. She is in fear of repeating the experience now that she is a Mother in Law; so she withholds her advice as well as her judgement. Even if we ask for her advice, she will generally (in a roundabout way) tell us to do whatever we think is best.

She NEVER has an unkind word for anyone. She lives by the rule, "if you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything". My rule seems to be more in lines with "if you don't have anything nice to say about someone, come sit by me". I go to great lengths to try to get her to say anything negative, even about her ex husband, but the comments have been rare and vague. I'm sure she probably prayed for forgiveness after those few times as well. She is a very faithful person. She is active in her church and attends regularly. In the summer, when she is not teaching, she attends daily. Though I don't share these views, I find them admirable.

That actually may sum up our relationship: We may not share each others views, but we find them admirable. I always feel we are polar opposites in personality, beliefs, and actions. When I tell my husband he must have sought out someone who was unlike his mother to marry, he's always surprised. He thinks we are very similar in what counts to him. We both love him, love children and family and do whatever it takes to make that our number one priority.

So this picture would never have made it to a memory book, because when I look at Dorothy holding my baby when she was a scrawny six week old, I see how unflattering it is. Reflected on me. I didn't see that she may have gone beyond her limits and I allowed her to silently plow through. I will add this picture to my mental memory book so that her next visit I will remember to force her to take in big periods of rest ~ cause I love her! She is the best Mother In Law I could have ever asked for!!!!!!!!

Check out more memories Sincerely Fro' Me to You ~ by clicking here


We are THAT Family said...

You just described my Mother in Love to a 'T' When our last baby was born 2 months early, she moved in with for weeks to help out.

I couldn't have done it without her!

jennifer said...

An Exhausted mother in law! I giggled over that but the rest was so touching!

Be blessed.

WorldsGreatestMommy said...

Very touching tribute, to someone who is obviously a fantastic woman.

The McCanns said...

Could you please let Dorothy know, she is a truly inspiring woman without ever having to meet! She IS what I hope to be. (Though not sure it will ever happen) How lucky you are. Can't complain about my MIL, well, not too much, well not by myself....I'm only kidding. Some people give and give because they want to be hailed the "martyr", but it sounds like she's that rare woman who gives from true "love".

The Apron Queen said...

Aren't mother-in-laws the greatest? I miss mine. She lives 1/2 the country away in IL.

Thanks for sharing.

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen, the home of Vintage Thingies Thursdays.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman!
And lucky you for having such a great MIL.

P.S. He loves you... said...

Need more MIL's like these and I hope to be like this one when it's my turn!

Great post!

Valarie said...

You did a great job with this. I have a great Mother in Love also. She lives right next door and I don't know what I would do with out her.

Janel said...

It is great to have a good mother in law. I love mine very much also. This was a sweet story!