Monday, October 12, 2009

WRITER'S CHALLENGE #1

Today I am joining a new event created by Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts, which is a Writer's Challenge. Our topic for this first challenge is 'What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you'. There is a growing list of ladies joining this event, so if you want to sign up, visit Lori for the details. The list is getting longer, and you can already read some of the very special posts that have been written, including Lori's, which just brought tears to my eyes.
Below you will see a picture of a young Blondie sitting on her little Toyota GT with two little boys. It is in the driveway of the home I now live in and have lived in for the past 24 years. You see, at the time this picture was taken, I did not live there and I had no clue that I would, or that these two precious little boys would soon become my sons.
I was dating my future husband who had been widowed the year before after ten years of marriage and was left with his two beautiful sons as a single dad. His wife had died after a three year battle with breast cancer. Jeffrey and Kevin were just two and three years old at that time. She was only thirty years old and although I never met her, I learned she was a spunky little Irish girl that loved life, motherhood and family. And what a wonderful family she had...
After dating my husband for awhile, we became engaged. Of course it was a delicate situation with Patty's family, especially her parents. My husband was extremely close to them. I hadn't met them yet and not only was their son~in~law getting married to this little blonde, this little blonde would become the mother of their grandchildren...
I met my husband's inlaws about 4 months before the wedding. They are a very tight knit, warm and loving 100% Irish family. Considering they had just lost their oldest daughter, it took time for our relationship to grow. But just to show you what a class act his mither in law was, she loaned me her pearls to wear on my wedding day...
I don't think I am showing off the pearls here. I think I am hiking up my stockings!

Our relationship grew as I struggled to become a wife and mother. I went from being a single working girl to a married mother of two little rambunctious boys overnight. And I continued to work full time. I think I earned my mother~ in~ law's respect with my juggling and hopefully, common sense. We began to visit longer when she watched the boys for us and family parties became easier and really a lot of fun. I nearly broke down and cried when she introduced me to some friends as her daughter~in~law. That was really the brass ring for me, and it seemed to open up a million doors. No longer did I feel the need to prove myself to her. We moved on to a closer, more meaningful relationship.






My husband and I had two daughters together over the next 3 years, Emily and Abigail. Nana had a special affinity with Emily, her first granddaughter, saying they were both 'old souls'. I think she was right. Emily pretty much gave everyone trouble except Nana, and not only did they play with toys together that Nana kept at her home, they had long conversations!! When we had Abigail, we gave her my mother in laws name as her middle one.







As I became a mother to her grandsons, , she became more like a mother to me. I never once, not once, had a moment where I had the need to complain about her, be put off, or feel anything but great love for her. I think she was proud of the way I raised the boys. She would ask me what to get them for birthdays and Christmas, what their baseball schedules were, how they were doing in school. She always treated me like I had been there mother since day one.








My mother in law passed a way a few years ago. She was bedridden for awhile. I would go over and sit by her bed and we'd talk until she got tired and then I would read her favorite magazine, Bon Appetite, while she dozed. Near the end I would gently lift her fragile body up into a sitting position next to me on the bed to help her circulation. She abhorred pain medication. In her last hours I repeated over and over how much I loved her and thanked her for all the wonderfully nice ways she had always been to me. This tiny little lady, one whom I was so afraid of twenty years ago, someone I wanted so badly to please and gain the respect of, I now held her hand, laid my head on her chest and cried. I never had to try to gain these things from her. Her heart had plenty of room in it for me.


xoxo
Jane

I was told by my good friend at Aunt Amelia's Attic, that a wonderful young girl named Nancy is sitting by the bedside of her husband who has been suffering from a terrible infection for over a month. This poor man can not even speak. Please visit Nancy at Cold Springs Studio with some words of encouragement and a few prayers. And visit my 'Aunt'. She is one fantastic lady! Thank you friends...



67 comments:

Sharing with Sherri said...

Oh my goodness, what a touching story... and you told it so well. I had no idea, and thanks for sharing this very personal story. I can imagine how you must have felt to step into the role you did at such a young age. It took alot courage it took to take it on too.
I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm so glad the two of you had such a special relationship, I'm sure it meant so much to her.

Hugs,
Sherri

Cherrie said...

What a beautiful post! It brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Stacey said...

That was such a sweet family story to share. It just goes to show you that love comes from unexpected places if we let it. :)

Paula said...

I so much enjoyed reading your family story. Jane must have been really special to you.

Lori E said...

Oh Jane. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is such a wonderful homage to a very special lady. But don't forget it took both of you to create that bond. You didn't have to be as gracious as you were either. I think you both stepped up to the plate and created a family. How lucky you were to have her in your life. We can really learn a lot from her example.
Here is the sound of a martini glasses clinking. Cheers to a couple of special ladies.
Oh man I love this writer's topic. It has been so uplifting, but with teary eyes.

C'est Moi, Julie Marie said...

Jane, what a beautiful story right from your heart... Jane sounds like such a caring, giving lady (like another Jane I know!)...and I am so happy you both felt the way you did about each other...what a beautiful photo of her as well... you are such a sweet lady and I adore you... I honestly do feel like I am chatting with an old friend when I visit your blog... thank you for sharing such personal. private memories... love to you... Bisous... Julie Marie

Deb said...

Oh Jane was a gorgeous post & wonderful photos :-)And what a lovely family you have ♥

Lynn said...

Now, see, you made me cry.
If you read my, "Leigh-Nothing lasts for Long" blog I can return the favor.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie, I am so touched by this I just can't find the words. How very blessed Jane was to have you in her life and the lives of her grandsons. She sounds like a special lady and must be to have recognized how fine and wonderful you are.

Love you lots...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Barb said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post.
You are one amazing lady and so was Jane. It must have been a difficult time for her but what love she showed you. That was a true blessing.

Many thanks for the anniversary congrats. Those 6 years have flown by.

hugs,
Barb

P.s. How is the sewing going?

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Oh Janie,
This is so touching!! I so enjoyed reading the story, you have a gift for writing and a gift for being a great friend! I am sure Jane would be very proud! I am a step-mom too and I know how hard that can be. Thanks for sharing this my dear, hugs, Cindy

nannykim said...

A wonderful story; she seems like she was a gem of a lady!

Bonnie said...

Gosh, Jane, I was near tears reading your beautiful story. It really pulls at your heartstrings. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and the great pictures.

Bonnie

Kathleen said...

Lovely story! Thank you for sharing..It is great you had such a good relationship with Jane..May she rest in peace..

Mary said...

You have always appeared to be a very sweet lady on your blog. It doesn't surprise me one bit that you were loved almost immediately by your new family.

Thank you for sharing your touching story Blondie - you are a beautiful person inside and out.

recipes for the life said...

I think that it was a perfect ode to your mother-in-law. Such a well written piece. It was a touching tribute, and brought tears to my eyes

♥ Chaitra

PatQ said...

What a nice tribute. It moved me to tears.

Kathy said...

Janie, your story is absolutely lovely and touching. You told it beautifully. It seems to me that your new family members were blessed as well, to have a woman as kind and giving as you join their close clan. I'm sure if any of them were telling the story it would be about a beautiful young blond who won their hearts and nurtured their hurting hearts back to health and happiness. Beautiful post, my friend.
xo...Kathy

June said...

Oh Jane I loved reading this beautiful story of love and true friendship. It had me in tears by the end and I feel grateful to have come over here tonight to be inspired by this amazing story.
Hugs,
June

Sandy said...

This story is just so loving. It is so obvious that you loved this woman with all of your heart, and her you! Thank you so much for sharing this....

SmilingSally said...

Blondie, what a touching tale. You're blessed to have been a part of each other's lives.

mbkatc230 said...

What a wonderful story, beautifully told. Such a perfect tribute to a very special woman. It sounds like you two found each other at just the right time in your lives. Thank you for sharing this Janie, it really is a special story that deserved telling. Hugs, Kathy

Lisa @ Another Day Today said...

Such a sweet story!

April said...

You melted my heart with this story! I am completely speechless...

hummer said...

What a wonderful story to share and so sacred. She was a special woman and example to her grandchildren. You really were blessed. My heartstrings were pulled and my eyes flowed with tears.
Thank you for sharing and Thank you for coming by and commenting on my blog.
Frances

Sue said...

Blondie, my friend~ you walked into a situation that resulted in making both you and Jane better people. Patience and love grew and you became family. What a lovely, lovely story. xoxo Sue

Michelle said...

What a wonderful story and I am so happy you shared it with us. How wonderful to have a MIL that was a true friend too.

Many blessings,

Michelle

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Jane, such a beautiful story. You write very well....I was touched. Thank you for sharing this with us, sweet lady.

Hugs, Barb ♥

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Oh Dear One, what a beautiful, beautiful story. And what a lovely tribute to this most deserving lady. How wonderful that you had her in your life.

And how wonderful for her, that she had you, in her life. You must have done a marvelous job of raising her Grandsons. Otherwise, she'd not have been able to be so sweet to you.

And thank you for mentioning Nancy's sadness. She was so happy with the comments which came to her. Her husband is making small improvements, thankfully. But it will still be a long haul, and I'm sure she could use more comments of good wishes and prayers and etc. :-)

Gentle hugs,
Aunt Amelia

Sigrun said...

How rich your life has been. I'm sure she was worried about how you would accept her. And were she to respond to this writers' challenge, I bet she'd have some wonderful things to say about you, too.

Maryrose said...

Hi Jane,
Your story has brought me to tears. What a tribute to a beautiful woman from a beautiful woman. You gave her the most wonderful gift of a loving family and loving grandchildren. You are truly a blessing.
I have missed visiting you and when I get together with my bunco ladies I always think what a good time we would have if you joined us.
Enjoy your day :)
Maryrose

Domestic Designer said...

What a lovely story. You have such a gift for writing. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

Linda (Nina's Nest) said...

Wow! What a gift you two were for each other! That's an amazing story of love, grace, and acceptance. Thank you for sharing such an unusual, and sweet relationship. Linda

Jane (Frugal Fine Living) said...

Jane, what a touching story! Your "MIL" sounds like a lovely lady. I am glad you were able to have such a close relationship with her.

Your husband and children are so very blessed to have you, too!

Jane

Jane said...

That was a beautiful story and it brought tears to my eyes. Families are formed in many ways...how wonderful that you found a family in Jane. You had a beautiful relationship!!
Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my blog today!
Jane

Linda (Nina's Nest) said...

Hi, it's me again, and I found your blog through Normandy Life (?) the English lady who lives in France! In fact, this evening I told my husband about your sweet blog story. It just made my day! Linda

Betty819 said...

What a beautiful story and you told it so well with so much love behind it for your dear MIL. My relationship with my MIl was very similar, except her son was divorced when I married him, not a widow. I was very close to her and still after 11 yrs. there is not a day that I don't think about her and my FIL, and reminisce over certain times we had. I was so fortunate to have such wonderful in-laws as you did. There is a crown waiting for you in heaven for all the love and care you gave her and you'll meet again.She'll welcome you with open arms!

Susie Q said...

What a beautiful story and told so well by the pen of a writing talent. You were blessings to one another...you both created this bond, you both were special women.
What treasured memories.
Love,
Sue

KarenHarveyCox said...

This was such a beautiful story, and so well written too. I loved reading about Jane and about your instant family and your own two girls. What a wonderful relationship you had with her and how wonderful that you were there for her when she needed you. I am sure that she is shining down blessings from heaven in your life today.

I will visit your friend's link.

Have a lovely evening.
Karen

Kathy said...

Just wanted you to know that I left something for you in my blog posting today. Hope you're having a fabulous week...Kathy

Deb said...

what a beautiful story...what a lucky girl you are....mother in laws are not always easy....and to have her welcome you in was wonderful...thanks for sharing...

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Beautiful post!!

bj said...

Blondie, i am crying my eyes out..this was written in such a way that I can almost see you and your MIL, sharing times together. What a wonderful tribute to her.
Thanks so much for sharing...
xo bj

Charlene said...

TEARS IN MY EYES!!!!! Jane you did a wonderful job telling that story. I would say that all involved were truly blessed. Your hubby was a lucky guy to find such a treasure & I am so glad everyone see's you for the sweet soul that you are. That must have been a tough start but, such a beautiful ending to your story. HUGS!

susan said...

Jane-I just got by and read this and am so glad I didn't miss it!!! It is a beautiful story beautifully told. What a class act Jane O'Hara was. In spite of what must have been unbearable grief, she reached out to you and made you feel welcome. She was lucky to have you!

Brenda @Cozy Little House said...

I am so moved, dear girl. Felt like I did when my ex-mother-in-law and by then bestfriend died while I held her in my arms three years ago. I know how you felt at that moment, as though there were a million things you wanted to tell her before she was gone, and your mind raced to sort through them. What a touching, beautiful story of love!
Brenda

curtissannmatlock said...

How wonderful and heartfelt you write! You are blessed to have such a family, and they are sure blessed to have you.
Hugs,

Tamerie Shriver said...

I can't say more than your story is simply amazing. I will start crying and may never stop if I try to say anything else. Wow!

xinex said...

Oh Janie what a beautiful story, you made me cry. You are such a kind hearted woman and a wonderful mom and I can see how you could win anybody's heart. You truly are extraordinary! And you were such a beautiful bride!!...Christine

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Oh girl,, what a touching story. How nice the two families became one. I too felt the same way about my MIL, I loved her more than words can say. I think those of us that have great MIL's are very fortunate. Your family is truly beautiful..hugs ~lynne~

Michelle said...

Well, thanks for making the Kleenex Company a little richer! What a lovely story to share and what a wonderful & rare relationship you had with her! Beautiful story!
Michelle

Lorrie said...

Janie this is such a touching story of the love that can extend across generations between women. I know you recognize what a remarkable relationship this was--what a blessing it was for all your family.

Betsy said...

I just loved this story. You were so lucky to have known her and she was lucky to know you. What could have been a stressed filled life wasn't....and what a wonderful thing came from that. Lovely...really.

Tootsie said...

what an absolutely heartwarming beautiful story. I am moved to tears!

Anne Marie said...

Jane,
I am so sorry for your loss, even though it was some time ago now~
and I do hope your beautiful testimony of your love for her, reminds us all of how to treat everyone with kindness.....no matter what......
lovely -
and this truly was like a "diary entry"

Chari said...

Mornin' Dearheart...

Ohhhh Jane...what a touching story...I'm so glad that you shared it with us!!! Your mother-in-law was a very gracious lady...that's for certain! It couldn't have been easy for her in the beginning after losing her daughter! But then, I think about what a loving soul you are and you made it easy for her to love you and fit right into her family!!! Thank you so much for sharing yourself and your family with us today...it was really so sweet to read!!!

I also wanted to thank you for coming by and taking a peek at my autumn living room! My friend, your sweet, sweet note just lifted my spirits and made my day...thank you!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, Sweetie!
Chari

Bunny Rose Cottage said...

This was such a beautiful post!! So touching and heartwarming!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think you are such a wonderful person, to take on two young sons and such big shoes to fill. You are truly a gift!!
Hugs,
Amy

Fifi Flowers said...

VERY nice post! LOVE learning about your family!
BOn week-end... painting is coming SOON!!!
Fifi

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story with us. I'm sure when you came into this situation it must have been difficult taking on such a big responsibility and surely must have been daunting.

You obviously are a wonderful person to persevere through it all and raise a wonderful and happy family and gain the respect of Jane and move on to develop such a loving and close relationship. My what a beautiful woman she was.

You had me in tears at the end...I'm sure she appreciated you being there for her right to the end.

God bless!

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
darnold23 said...

Wonderful, honest, lovely post. Thanks for sharing it. I noticed that you wondered about "blue bell." That would be Blue Bell ice cream...a brand we have around in the South. It is delicious.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful story. I too married someone with THREE young boys....became their mother at the age of 25. Thirty years later, I look back and remember wonderful years of fun....

xinex said...

Hi Janie! Did you have fun in Las Vegas? I can't wait to see your pictures. Our Stockholm trip was not recent. It was more than a year ago. My travel posts are not in chronological order. I try to mix them up so it is not too boring. Thank you...I am glad you like my blog's new look! You changed your background, right? Your blog looks like it belongs to a professional writer's and it fits you so well too. Your story is so inspiring....Christine

Joyce said...

Heartfelt tribute to your sweet and gentle MIL. Gave me tears of happiness. Cherish the memories.
Joyce

Beth at Aunties said...

This brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my own precious mother in law.
How blessed she must have felt to be blessed by not only one but two wonderful daughters who became in everyway the mother of her grandchildren.
I too cared and loved for my mother in law during the last years of her life. I bathed and fed her and cared for her most intimate care. There was truly a mother `daughter bond thee and such an enormous ond of love.
She never had daughters of her own and I am married to her oldest son. I truly feel these special relationships are such precious gifts from God.
What an awesome mom and person you truly are!
Thanks for sharing and starting my Saturday of right~♥

nancy said...

Dear Jane -
Thank you so much for your kind support and encouragement. What a sweetheart you are to mention our current struggle. Reading your entry also brought tears to my eyes, for several reasons. I am also a stepmom, and know the challenges that brings. How lucky your boys are that you came into their lives.

Many hugs to you-
Nancy

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

Jane...this is so beautiful - thank you for sharing it!