Sunday is Mother-in-law Day.
I know that mother-in-laws get the brunt of bad jokes,
good natured teasing,
and are forever the best cooks in the whole wide world.
And I will admit that I never really appreciated my mother-in-law.
Martha passed away several years ago-
and now it's too late to make up for lost love.
I suppose I quickly blame it on the fact
that I had three children to raise.
Time was stuffed full of crying and spills and fevers-
homework, ball games, new shoes and bedtime stories...
Back then, Martha was there like a sweet shadow.
Watching...helping..giving her advice.
(Although I didn't always heed it.)
She did love my children with all her heart
and they all remember special times with her.
Martha loved catfish-
and whenever we had the opportunity (or the money)
to go out to dinner with her,
I was always fascinated by the meticulous and careful way
that she picked and peeled away the bones,
leaving only a lacy carcass on her plate.
She was patient.
Believed in God and lived her life accordingly.
Those long years ago,
she was probably the only connection I had to church,
or the Bible, or prayer.
And even though I never really said it-
her positive convictions
helped me cope with raising my family
and led me to find hope in hopeless situations.
Martha seemed to always get under my husband's skin.
But- as a mother-
I now know that is just a mother thing.
Her love was limitless, boundless, and rarely judgmental.
(At least not to our faces.)
And, of course, she was a wonderful cook-
treating us to fluffy home made biscuits,
coconut infused Pina-Colada Cake,
and crispy fried chicken.
Her home was always clean, precise, and welcoming.
We never had much one-on-one time.
We never had mother-daughter talks.
We never spent afternoons laughing and bonding.
We never got to be just Martha and Rae.
I was always "Mommy" back then-
and she was always "my husband's mother".
I miss her.
Today she would be the one to comfort me.
to give suggestions,
to assure me that I've chosen my pathways wisely.
I try to imagine if she was still in my life today...
She would love the fact that I'm reading the Bible
and going to church occasionally.
She would be proud of my children.
She would be thrilled I've survived
the ups and downs of marriage with her son.
She would love to come visit.
We would bond.
And we would have fresh, hot catfish.
We'd say a blessing over the heaping plate.
Laugh and eat and make plans-
until all that was left was a plate of bones...
and a day well-lived.
Happy Mother-In-Law Day, Martha.
I love you!
If you have a mother-in-law,
call her up Sunday and tell her how much you appreciate her.