Sunday, October 9, 2011

When I Am Old, I Shall Wear Purple

I married a Mama’s boy.  I mean, all boys love their mother, but I guess I really didn’t realize how much of a mama’s boy my Hubby was until we had been dating for awhile.  You see, I was head over heels for him within about two weeks.  I’m not one to hide my feelings, so I wrote him this long sappy love letter telling him exactly how I felt about him.  A few weeks later, he let it slip that he had read at least part of it to his mother.  I was completely humiliated.  She lived out of state and I had never met her.  I could only imagine what she must be thinking of me.  He explained that he and his mother were very close and that she was thrilled that he had found someone that obviously loved him so much.  I felt better about it, but still extremely embarrassed. 

A few weeks later, I found out that his mother was coming for a visit.  I was so nervous about meeting her.  I was 29 at the time, recently divorced with a two year old daughter.  I was aware that I might not be exactly what she had in mind for her youngest son.  I was terrified.  When we were introduced, she threw her arms around me like we had known each other for years.  She immediately made me feel welcome.  She even asked me to spend the night with them while she was in town.  We ate pizza in our pajamas while we watched movies.  She told me family stories about my future husband.  She even brought presents for my daughter and treated us both like we were part of the family already. 

My mother-in-law had this ability to make everyone feel important.  She had one of the biggest personalities of anyone I ever met.  Her father was a Baptist minister so God played an important role in her life.  BUT, she was always a little irreverent.  She loved jokes, even dirty jokes.  She loved practical jokes as well.  She preferred sleeping naked and loved ice cream.  My Hubby jokes that the truckers that drove by their house at midnight probably got a free show as my mother-in-law’s silhouette was illuminated by the light of the freezer as she ate from the Blue Bell container.  She was kind and generous, always the life of the party and she raised two amazing sons. 

She was a single mom.  She raised her boys to be independent and they are.  My Hubby loved her so much, but the one time she and I had a little tiff, my Hubby took my side.  I know she was secretly proud of him for standing up to her in my defense.  That’s the kind of son she raised. 

She was generous with everyone.  She always thought of the little things.  She brought my youngest daughter a birthday cake to the hospital the day she was born.  She had a big caricature of my Hubby and I made for our wedding reception. 

She was a wonderful grandmother.  She was just a big kid herself really.  She was all about capturing the little moments.  When my son was little, he took a pencil and drew on her wall.  She didn’t want us to clean it up.  She wanted to put a frame around it instead.  When our youngest son stuck his fingers in her sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving and ate the cranberry chutney with a spoon out of the jar, she took pictures of him doing it instead of making him stop.  She was a bit of a rule breaker and saw no problem with them doing the same, as long as no one was getting hurt.  She also loved having the big girls over for sleepovers.  She even hosted "Camp Cousins" for her great niece and grandgirls.  They had their nails done, went horseback riding and had a photo shoot. 

I loved my mother-in-law very much.  I will always be grateful to her for raising the man who is the love of my life and for accepting me and my little girl into the family.  I am so grateful that I didn’t have the complaints some of my friends do about their mothers-in-law.  I am so grateful that she was my friend.

My sweet mother-in-law went to be with Jesus on her 62nd birthday.  Her favorite poem was When I Am Old, I Shall Wear Purple.  My brother-in-law preached her funeral and we all wore purple in her honor.  We are all so blessed to have known her. 

This photo was pre-E.



  1. What a wonderful tribute you've written to your mother-in-law. I am so very sorry to hear that she lost her battle with cancer. She sounds like a wonderful lady and a great mother and grandmother.

  2. Tanya, this is a beautiful tribute! Your mother-in-law certainly sounds like a special lady. 62 is so young. My mom died when she was 58. Those ages seem awfully close to my age these days!

    I am taking notes about what it's like to be a good mother-in-law. I hope I can be like yours some day. :)

  3. Such sweet thoughts regarding your mother-in-law. She sounds wonderful, and as the mom of two boys, I hope to be the kind of MIL that she was. Thinking about you and your husband, and the rest of your family. xo

  4. Not many have the blessing of such a great relationship with their in-law. I too am blessed this way and will mourn greatly when my MIL passes. Hopefully, that will be a long time off.
    This is a wonderful post and tribute to your love for her. It moves my heart to tears.

  5. I came back to see if my earlier comment had posted, and I see it didn't. I was afraid of that. I am having whirly swirly issues today.

    Since I knew of her passing, I was moved from the first paragraph. I think she sounds just wonderful. What a legacy of love and FUN she left you all. I am truly, truly sorry to your husband and the whole family for the loss of someone who was obviously very special.

  6. What a beautiful tribute!
    Sounds like she was a wonderful person :)

  7. Wonderful memories and she sounds like an amazing woman. Sending thoughts to you and your family.