It was a long, long time ago, I was an overwhelmed young Mom (just a baby myself), and I'd just had my second child. We lived 900 miles away from all our relatives. Though Bill did everything he could, he worked long hours and just couldn't... be there when I needed him. And the new baby screamed and screamed, and I didn't sleep. . .
And then my mother-in-law called and said she was coming out to help. I was too dizzy with fatigue to say yes or no. When she arrived, she said, "you look after the baby, and I'll do everything else." And she did, from spending time with dazed little Jeffy (only18 months old and a little traumatized at having a new sibling) to making meals to keeping the place clean to baking a cake. This was intensive homemaking and grandmothering, and though I am sure I did not fully appreciate what she was doing, it was lifesaving.
But it was the way she did it - with such joy - bouncing Shannon around to relieve her colic, sitting on the floor playing with Jeffy, taking him outside to play in the snow - that I marvel at now. And it hit me with an absolute shock today that she was probably younger than I am now. She became my Mum over the years, filling an awful gap left by an indifferent mother (my name did not appear in her obituary), and what I marvel at most is her sense of gratitude for everything she had. This was rarely spelled out, because it didn't have to be. Her passing was as graceful and as gracious as she was. I will remember her every day of my life.
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