Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday. Her name is Susan, but most everyone calls her Ma. When Jim and I were married, there was never that awkward wondering, “Should I call her Mom or Susan?” She was Ma. There was never questioning whether Jamie should call her Grandma or not. She was Ma to the other grandkids and so was Ma to Jamie and later to Jon.
I love Ma. I’ve always felt that I never measured up to what she wanted in a wife for her son, but maybe nobody else ever would have either. Part of me doesn’t blame her – Jim is a pretty great guy! Family means everything to Ma. She has done a wonderful job raising two daughters and two sons who at the very least have been married 25 years (Jim and I). Of her four children, we live the furthest away (about two miles). The rest live on the same road as she does. We live in the house she and my father-in-law built over 50 years ago. At this time, all of her grandchildren except for two (out of eight) live within a 15 minute drive to her house. Her seven grandsons are Eagle Scouts. Her one granddaughter is a Gold Award Girl Scout. She has six great grandchildren that are pretty great! She is blessed.
She’s a homebody, but keeps busy baking cookies for…everyone in the family. At 82, she still mows her lawn (with a riding mower) and she does most of her yard work. She doesn’t sit still long, never has. I swear the health department could come in at any time of the day or night and do a home inspection and there would be not a single germ in any part of her house!
I admire her for many reasons. One thing really stands out though. Jim and I bought our house from my in-laws almost 20 years ago. They had lived here for over 30 years. The business that my in-laws built is also here. She walked away from the house (to a beautiful brand new one) and the business work. That must have been one of the most difficult things for her to do. She spent a few hours showing me exactly what she did for the business and handed it all over to me, except for the billing which she did for another few years. She has never once questioned any changes that I made to “her system”. What’s more – she never once complained about the changes that we made to the house that had been hers for so many years. She always complimented any change, especially any woodwork that Jim made and installed (he’s a very talented woodworker). I don’t know if it ever bothered her, but she never once said a word.
Ma, I know you won’t read this – but Happy Birthday and I love you!