Monday, December 13, 2010


I haven't known her for as long as some people have. But I think half my life qualifies me to make a few observations.

She won't be the loudest voice at the party. But she'll be there if you asked her to come.

She's always been there. For him. For me. For us.

Like when I was 18 and racing in the high school sectionals track meet with high hopes of qualifying for State in at least one of three events. I had to place second to advance. She was in the stands. She saw me take third in the 800m relay. Then trip tragically in the 1600m run and cross the line third again. Then she saw me sit in the grass and cry -- I knew my last race would be my last. And I felt a little self conscious curled there with my head down, knowing my boyfriend's mom was watching me fall apart. But I was glad she was there.

And that was just the first time.

She was there when I tried on my wedding dress. She was there at some crazy late-night hour to hold our fresh, new baby.  And when the other two were born in the years that followed, she was there for all the false alarms and in time to watch the big sister(s) when the real event finally began. We knew she'd be there.

She was there when we unlocked the door to our first home. She snapped a picture of us walking in -- a moment that would have been entirely impossible without her. And then she deep cleaned the bathrooms and laid contact paper and supervised the little girls painting their bedroom wall. She was there the whole weekend.

And it's not just us.

She's there for so many dear ones, at any time, with a love that's so big she can throw it over us all like some universe-sized blanket she's been knitting her whole life.

I don't know where she found that yarn but it's strong and beautiful and from a skein that never tangles or unravels or ends.  I feel so blessed to have been woven into the fabric of her family.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday, and it's supposed to be one of the coldest days of the year so far. But all of us who are loved by her feel warm because of her.

And I hope she feels our love and appreciation and gratitude radiating back over the snowy highways and down her street and right through her front door, even though we're not there today. Because we're sending it. All of us. 

Happy birthday, Pat. Thank you for being there. Much love to you today -- and always.

{And I must add that every time she was there, Tom was there, too. He was the one who drove. And who loves just as deeply as she does. Many thanks to you, too!}