Tag Archives: love

Mom-in-law


Hello Everyone!

One day several years ago, my husband and I were visiting his parents when Mark’s Mom and Dad began to debate the cost of the dining room set (table, chairs and china cabinet) they had purchased some 40 to 50 years earlier.  Once the debate progressed to a certain point, Mark’s Mom announced she would prove that she was right.  She stood up, walked out of the room, came back into the room with a pleated cardboard folder, opened the pleats, put her hand one time into a particular spot and pulled out the receipt for said furniture.  (For the record, she remembered the price correctly before checking.)  Mark’s eyes were dancing, but I dissolved into laughter right there in the den.  When she asked me what was so funny, I explained that she had attained a level of organization I could never hope to attain.

Another favorite story is the time she had to go out of town to Andalusia (Alabama, not Spain) for something, which is usually a full day’s trip.  To surprise her, my Dad-in-law pulled all of the furniture out of the dining room, including the removal of all of the china from the china cabinet, and painted the dining room for her.  The paint job was perfect.  He then very carefully put everything back in the room, put the china back in the cabinet exactly the way it came out, and had the room looking spectacular.  When she came home, what she noticed was that the china cabinet was off-center by one inch, whereupon he emptied the china cabinet once more to put the cabinet where she wanted it.

Then there was the day that Mark’s dad decided to replace the baseboards in the kitchen.  He had been talking about this project for a while, and Mark had already offered to bring down his portable mitre saw to help him when he got ready to do it – all we asked was that he let us know in advance so we could plan.  Mark’s mom called us that Saturday morning, speaking just barely above a whisper, to let us know his dad had decided to go forward with Project Baseboard on his own, and she really thought he might need some help.  We threw the mitre saw in the car and drove down to Montgomery from Alexander City, about an hour’s drive, and sure enough, the mitre saw came in handy.

I don’t know how fond of me she was when Mark and I first started dating, although she predicted that I would be the one he married because my birthday was December 27.   This was not based on astrology, which she had little time for, but on the fact that her daughter had married a man whose birthday is December 23, and her son married a woman whose birthday is December 22.  She was right.  By the time we got married, she loved me dearly and ever since we got married she always treated me like I was one of her own children.

During the five years I was in law school at night, she fed me supper three times a week when school was in session – their house was just down the street from my law school, and the only way my schedule worked was for me to leave straight from work, grab something to eat at her house, then head over to school.

I never once walked into her house without being welcomed by her special smile, a hug, and the comment, “My, how pretty you look.”  And even though I know for a fact that I didn’t always look pretty, I never doubted for a minute that she meant it.

When Mark’s Dad died in 2001, she had to learn to live on her own.  It wasn’t easy for her, but I admired the courage that it took for her to take each step forward in rebuilding her life.

When Kayla came to live with us December 1, 2004, she fell in love with her immediately.  I can remember the first time she baby-sat for us – we had warned her in advance that three year olds and sugary foods did not mix well.  When we came back to pick Kayla up, Kayla was bouncing off the walls and ceiling.  Mark’s mom looked just like a kid whose hand was caught in the cookie jar as she confessed that she had “only” given Kayla a piece of chocolate cake and some candy.  We laughed about it; there is, after all, a reason that what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s.

She hated having her picture taken and the number of pictures we have of her smiling is very limited – you had to take the picture when she didn’t know you were taking it and she was concentrating on something else.  I am very proud that I have some.

Here she is with Kayla on the first Halloween Kayla was with us:

Kayla's first Halloween

And here is a picture I took when the entire family got to meet Andy and Anne’s first-born child, Carter, her first great-grandchild.

Mom Eady meets Carter

She fell and broke her hip in 2016, and things were never the same for her afterwards.  She passed away this past year right after Christmas.  Everyone in her family, including me, misses her and we grieve but there is part of us too that is grateful that she is out of pain and reunited with Mark’s Dad.  And, of course, all of us believe that we will see her again some day.

So sadly I say “au revoir” to my Mom-in-law, say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for her entry into the next great adventure, and look forward to the day when I see her again, and she smiles at me and says once again,”My, how pretty you look!”

Have a great day.

Nancy

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Memories of a Sweet Dog


Hi Everyone!

I can still remember picking Tyra out at the Humane Society.  We had lost our first dog, Shadow, about a year before, and our other dog, Woof, didn’t like being alone, so we decided to see if we could find a second dog so she would have some company.  Woof didn’t like the shelter much; it was too noisy and loud, so we put her back in the car and returned.  (It was February 14, so the weather was not an issue.)  The first run we encountered had two dogs in it, and two placards with their names on them attached to the door.  One of them said “My name is Tyra, and I know how to sit!”  Mark looked at both dogs, said sit, and one of them, a pretty dog with black hair and white, brown and tan markings did.  (She rarely sat on command after that, but the one time in her life it counted, she certainly did!).  We asked the shelter volunteer if we could adopt her, and the attendant said, “I think that’s an excellent idea!”

Adopted Dog, Shelter, Homecoming

Tyra’s Second Day at Home

No matter how hard a kennel or shelter tries, dogs that reside there acquire the very potent “Eau de Dog” scent, so as soon as we got her home, we popped Tyra into a bathtub, and washed her. From then until the day that she died, that dog never put a foot onto the tile portion of a bathroom in any house we resided in. Apparently, we had inadvertently scarred her for life!

Every dog has a unique personality, and Tyra’s outstanding characteristic was her eagerness to please – not in the goofy, sloppy, wonderful way a lab does, as if his whole world revolves around that instant in time his owner asks him to do something , but in her own quiet, determined way.  She had been left at the kennel by her first family because they had a baby and no longer had time for her.   I always had the impression that she was determined that would never happen again.  Of course, she couldn’t know at first that our family has one firm rule about adoptions of any animal, canine or human – once you’re a member of the pack, you’re always a member of the pack – but I suspect she caught on after a while.

She adapted quickly and well, as this picture from that first summer show.

Dog, photograph, sleeping in the s

Tyra in the back yard in Montgomery

Even better, Woof regained the ability to sleep in the sun and be happy even when Mark and I weren’t in the yard.

Dog, Sleeping in the Sun, Old Dog

Woof in the Back Yard When Tyra was There

We didn’t know it at the time we adopted Tyra, but she was not going to be the only new member of our family that year. In mid-November, at long last, the people at the Alabama DHR told us that they had a child they would like us to consider taking in as a foster child, with hopes that we could adopt her eventually. By December 1, 2004, Kayla had come to live with us. Here is a picture of all five us right about then:

Family Photo

Family Photo

We all had new experiences to share that winter, including the dogs experiencing the joys of having a child on the floor with her Dad and a bunch of Lincoln Log train tracks.

Dogs, Child, Play

Train Tracks, Family and Paws

Kayla and Tyra bonded quickly.  It really helped Kayla understand what was going on with her when we could explain to her what happened to Tyra – and it helped Kayla trust us to keep loving her when she saw how we loved Tyra.

Kids, Dogs

Kayla and Big Dog

Sweet Kisses

Sweet Kisses

There are so many things that made her unique – like the fact that even when she was old and blind, she could hear you peel a banana from 50 yards away and arrive instantly to demand her fair share, or that the only time I ever knew her to intentionally go after another person or dog was when she thought one of us was threatened. She did it twice – once when she thought another dog was attacking Woof, and once when Kayla was four and answered the door when the doorbell rang, then screamed because she didn’t recognize the person there. That time, Tyra had four teenage boys treed on the trunk of their car in the few seconds it took Mark to fly from the back yard to the front door himself. I felt sorry for the boys – all they wanted were directions. Both times, there was not a mark on either the dog or the boys when all was said and done but she had made a believer out of all of them!

Her story here came to an end on March 22. We hadn’t really thought we were that close to the end, even though she was 14, but that weekend she simply couldn’t seem to lift herself up off our wooden floor or go down the stairs at all, so I dropped her off at the vet’s that day, afraid of what I would hear.  When the vet called me back, I think I knew what she was going to tell me before she said it.  Tyra’s back had many osteophytes on the spine that had grown to the point that they were impinging on her nerves. Dr. Mitchell explained that Tyra would be in constant, worsening pain from then on, and we made the only decision we could.

I am comforted by the thought that Tyra knew without a doubt that we loved her; Mark, Kayla and I all made it to the vet about 1/2 hour in advance so we could be with her, petting her and telling her how much we loved her, and then it was time.

I also expect that it was only seconds after leaving here that Tyra was with Shadow and Woof –  trying to help Woof explain to Shadow exactly what Mandy looks like.

Sleep well, sweet Tyra Belle.

Nancy

Confessions of a Recovering Misovalentinist


Good morning Everyone!

It may have escaped the notice of some of you, although I scarcely know how given Madison Avenue’s best attempt to thoroughly cover the airways with advertisements about the darn thing, but today is Valentine’s Day.  So, to get the obligatory greeting over with, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I do sincerely hope that each of you has a good day today, but I have a confession to make – I used to really hate Valentine’s Day. FN.

For me, it started once I went from elementary school to junior high and up, which was when we stopped filling out little Valentines that we brought to school for our entire class.  This fun and kind tradition was replaced with fundraisers by various clubs in school where you could purchase a carnation to be sent to a special someone, and the club would deliver the carnation to whoever it was during the school day.  (Carnations must have been very inexpensive, as I went to junior high and high school in three different states across two coasts – California, Virginia (the D.C. area) and Alabama – and carnations were used every time.)   If you weren’t going to get a carnation – and in grades 7 through 12 I got a total of two – one from my Mom [Thanks Mom!] and one from my best friend in grade 11 [thank you Debbie Gronich; I only wish you hadn’t had to move before the next year!] – it was a form of water torture to creep through an entire day watching some people get dozens of carnations and knowing I wasn’t going to get one but sort of hoping I would get one still.  I have to admit that left deep bruises on my soul I didn’t think would ever heal.  (However, at those ages, lots of things seem to leave deep bruises we have a hard time recovering from.) Until…

1) I was old enough to appreciate the fact that my grandparents and aunt and uncle always sent me a card and a little something and I realized that important love isn’t solely romantic love.  (You manage to lose sight of that during junior school and high school when you are not part of the “in” crowd.)

2) Mark and I fell in love after my second year in college and I realized how strong, solid and deep his love for me is.  I don’t have to worry about Valentine’s Day anymore; I know he loves me.  Just for the record, his gifts are much better than silly carnations!

3) Kayla came to live with us and she and I filled out little Valentines for every member of her classes together.  I hate that this year (next year in 5th grade she moves on to the middle school where they may not do this) may be the last year we do it.

4) I decided that at least some of those people must have sent the carnations to themselves so they would look more popular.  It’s probably not true, but it makes me feel better.

5) I was old enough to appreciate the scene at any grocery store in America at 5:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day evening.  Try it this evening if you need a laugh; you will see men (and some women) desperately wandering the aisles trying to decide which of the leftover, slightly wilted flower arrangements would best disguise the fact that they forgot to get something for their special someone on this day, whether a bag of Reese’s cups counts as Valentine’s chocolate, if a one day old cookie cake or a new Swiffer sweeper would do the trick.  (Hint:  Nix the Swiffer sweeper; a gift of nothing for Valentine’s Day is better than a cleaning utensil, unless the cleaning utensil is a subscription to a weekly cleaning service for a year.)

So, today, while I am not exactly a fan of the “holiday,” I at least no longer hate Valentine’s Day – although as I schlep into Kayla’s school this morning in the rain with 40 Capri Suns, 64 Rice Krispies treats (yes, of course, I bought them at the store – you thought I made them at home?), 23 paper plates for the afterschool care party, a box of 24 Valentines with Nerds carefully tucked into them, a book bag and a 10-year-old, I may have to work hard to keep from falling into old thought habits!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

FN.  A misanthropist is someone who hates men, a misogynist is someone who hates women, so hence the word misovalentinist – someone who hates Valentine’s Day.  Spell check is having a fit!