Nov 26, 2013

The Mom Behind The Man

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to write about something I’m thankful for—something somewhat unique. Yes, I’m grateful for my husband, daughter, friends, church, and community in general. I’m thankful to live in a country where I can express myself freely without looking over my shoulder. But what I’m about to tell you I’m thankful for might surprise you: I’m grateful for an awesome mother-in-law. 
Unlike many of you who married your husbands despite their mom, I sometimes think I married Jon for his mom. You see, my Daughter Hat is a bit upside-down (for those who don’t know, my mom is cognitively impaired and has the mental age of a 12-year-old). All I’ve ever really wanted is a normal family and a normal life. Don’t get me wrong. My definition of normal is probably different from yours. There’s really no such thing as quote-unquote normal. However, there is such a thing as that feeling of belonging. My mother-in-law accepted me from the start. I barely knew Jon or his family, but I was always welcome. 

I was also needed. 

Having three boys, Mom was struggling in a testosterone-infused world. My estrogen was a drop of water in a wasteland. When I entered the scene, Mom’s opinion on movie night suddenly mattered. Doubling the girl vote defied all logic. Somehow two female votes dominated 3 to 4 male ones hands down. Was the result sexist? Maybe, but who cares? It totally worked in our favor. 

Not once have a felt like an outsider when around Jon’s mom. Love, acceptance and pride pour from her eyes every time she looks at me. At me. Those eyes hold all that and more for Jon, but she truly considers me her daughter—not just her son’s wife. When I succeed, she rejoices. When I mourn, she cries. When I struggle, she prays. She never insults me or my ways. Nor does she nag at me to do things her way.

In all reality, we don't have much in common. She loves antique malls and gardening. I enjoy modern stuff and cooking. We both like to read, but our book selection often differs. Regardless, time spent together is delightful. Plus, we both adore romantic movies and junk food, which helps. I’m always excited to wear my Daughter-In-Law Hat!

During high school, I did my fair share of dating, but I never really paid attention to the mom behind the man. If I'd been thinking wisely, I would have. Monster-in-laws might not affect the daily relationship, but they certainly affect the marriage. Likewise, the grandparent/grandchild relationship is often defined by how well the parents/grandparents get along. It's worth thinking about if you've yet to walk down that aisle.

I hope you all can be as lucky as I am. My mother-in-law (whom I relish calling Mom) loves God with her whole heart, mind and body and is an amazing example of a Godly woman. She is my Naomi. 

Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)

Nov 14, 2013

Sit Still

My daughter has one speed: supersonic. Getting her to stand in front of me long enough to get dressed is a daily fight. I’ll put her diaper on and zoom—she’s off. I’ll start counting to three, and she’ll run back. I’ll put on her shirt and zoom—I think you get the idea.

Tumble tots should be a fun experience, but I leave exasperated every time. Kayla’s frantic darting from station to station with no sign of brakes isn’t so bad. She’s releasing energy, and I get a longer nap out of her. It’s circle time that gives me gray hairs. From the moment it begins, I’m wrestling with her, trying to force her to sit down. At this point, I don’t even care if she does the exercises. I just want her to sit still.

I’m amazed by how much my Mom hat gives me glimpses into the heart of God. While dressing her the other day, I had this thought: I’ll bet God feels like this when I refuse to be still. The Bible tells us to be still know God is God. Sometimes we need to stop and remember that the Lord is in control.

Our women's Bible study challenged me last week to wait for God to answer a question with which I’ve been struggling. I am NOT a patient person, no matter what hat I’m wearing. Yet Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” I think that God sometimes puts us in a place that gives us no choice but to wait. That’s my agenda when I put Kayla is her booster seat. She can climb up into her chair, but she can't climb down, forcing her to wait until I'm ready to let her down. I have no problem waiting for her to learn to climb down. =)

Are you waiting for something? Take courage. You’re not alone. I won’t tell you to pray for patience though. That never ends well.

Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)