Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Tale Of Three Mothers

There are three mothers in my life. My biological Mother, my Mother-in-law, and my wife. On the eve of their big day, a few words.

Whenever someone accuses me of being opinionated and strong willed I blame my Mom. She is an amazing woman who shaped me in a thousand ways. My ability to think on my feet I got from her. My passion for travel from her. My curiosity about the world…her. My Mom also infused in me a love for the Bible. Verses dripped from her lips like an act of God, not in the phony forced way of many, but rather it was as if she had literally grafted God’s word to her heart and it flowed out contemporaneously and naturally in conversation. This was a woman who took her faith seriously and she had little patience with those who didn’t. It has been said that my Mother could argue with a fencepost but what is not said is that there exists no fencepost in the world that would stand a chance against her untrained logic. One of my earliest memories on this earth involves my Mom’s beautiful, rich virbrato alto singing “Tell Me the Old Old Story” while giving me a bath one summer night when the fire-flies were pulsing just outside. She had a way of calming me and wrapping me lovingly in her arms before putting me to bed that told me that I lived in the safest place on earth.

Mother-in-law jokes are a National tradition in this country. But for me none of them are ever funny. Although she had many reasons to worry when her daughter announced our intentions ( I didn’t exactly have a spotless resume) she never held back her support for me. In 27 years of marriage she has never once interfered in our lives..not one time. She has always been there for us when we needed her, as dependable as a best friend. She adores her grandkids and would run through a gauntlet for all of us. My marriage is as strong as it is in no small part because of her steadfast loving presence in our lives.

I married my wife for many reasons but primarily because she was so scorchingly hot. In this I was not unlike most other men on our planet. It’s only after the wedding that the luckiest of us discover what an amazing and undeserved windfall we have stumbled into. My wife turned out to be one of the finest human beings I have ever had the good fortune to know. Never was this more evident to me than on the two days that our children were born. I was just not prepared for her strength. I wasn’t ready for her toughness. In the years after I have stood off in the corner of rooms marveling at her amazing powers of organization, her blinding efficiency and the unfathomable depths of her mother’s love. In our house I’ve always had the easy job of making money and being Mr. Fun. I come sweeping in after dinner collapsing on the floor in a pile of tickling and giggles. I had the awesome job of giving them their baths and reading bedtime stories and kissing their sweet faces before the lights were switched off. But my wife had literally everything else. She was the one who made sure they got signed up on time for little league. She was the one who made sure that they turned in their homework, filled out their applications for church camp, got their shots, ended up with straight teeth and remembered to bring flowers on teacher appreciation day. My wife was the reason that our kids made it, the reason that they became the beautiful bright well-adjusted adults they are today. I just watched in baffled amazement and paid the bills. She has simply been the most valuable member of our family for the past 25 years and is the only thing that stands between me and oblivion. Mother’s Day is the day were credit is given where it is most assuredly due. I consider myself blessed that I have three women to praise.

Lucky me.