Growing up it was customary to hear Mother in Law jokes. If you hear it enough times from every direction, you grow up thinking that Mother in Laws are the worst thing on earth.
Then came Miss Marge.
The first time Craig brought me to his parents home to meet his family it was completely overwhelming to say the very least. It was Christmas day and I so nervous I was barely breathing. Craig opened the big wooden front door and there at the formal dining room table were all 7 of his beautiful sisters and his mom, Marge smiling at me. I just remember feeling very faint and Craig’s arms around me… wow, now I was really nervous! It was a lot to take in, then we went down stairs where the big party was. Three brothers, seven brother in laws, 1 sister in law and a major amount of grandkids running around opening gifts. Craig tried to prepare me with his siblings names but with them all starting with a C or K it was hard! Colleen,Connie, Kenny, Cathy, Cookie(Corrine), Christy, Cami, Kevin, Carmel, Craig & Chad- Whew! Then there was Craig’s Dad. Meeting Dick was so special- I felt as though I was the only one in the room with him. He immediately asked me one question “ Are you French?” I said yes- he smiled, pinched my cheek and said alright then. He knew. Someday I will write a whole post on him but today this is all about Miss Marge. Marge quietly watched me that day. You could tell she was someone very special. She was learning about me and after a few weeks she said something to me that I will never ever forget-“ God has given you many talents, it is your gift to give them back.” What sweet words Miss Marge- I filed them straight into my heart. She believed in me.
Craig and I were married before the year was out. They loved me and I loved them, I was a very lucky girl. The week before our honeymoon Marge showed up with a huge arm load of clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry! She knew we were the exact same size and wanted to share with me. We were girlfriends.
Through the years I would call her and she always had the time to talk. She taught me to “always call on my Angels, they’re all around you”. What a special gift she gave to me! She was a true “fire fighter” too! With eleven kids all married she would always be putting out fires, she would always take the spouses side when we would all get into tiffs- Craig would get so mad,I thought it was great! She would always calm you, love you up, make you laugh (when you didn’t want to), praise you for everything and always always remind you how very much God loves you. She was wise beyond her years. She knew that family was first and blood was thicker than water. She believed in forgiveness and love.
She couldn’t have loved our kids more, she rejoiced in every accomplishment, had endless hugs, kisses, I love you’s and prayers. When they would be faced with a problem she would always tell them “Don’t take the bait” Those words are etched in all three of them. She knew good from bad.
A favorite thing that I will always remember was when she would pop in with random gifts of food. She would load up at the store or local farmers markets and then stop to see all her kids and grandchildren and give you a few tomatoes, jars of cherry jam and candy- it didn’t matter, everything she gave you was from her heart. She loved to give.
She was an innovative woman who loved to fix up properties – and she was GOOD at it. As she got older and was no longer doing it is when Craig and I started up. She was especially excited about our 100 year old “bankers house”. She could not get enough! She stopped by weekly as we put the house back together. She pointed out a few things that she would do that Craig and I never thought of. She was a visionary. One day Craig was holding down his business and I had 6 crews working on the house. It was a very productive day and in walks miss Marge with two arm loads of food. She made everyone stop and eat. Of course the guys were thrilled- she made them all wash their hands and say grace first. She is a precious woman.
The most endearing memory I have was a particular day she stopped over. Now Dick, the love of her life had been gone for a few years- and that day I noticed she was limping. I panicked that she had fallen again. She said no, that it was her and Dicks anniversary the day before, so she put on their favorite music and danced by herself all night! She knew everlasting love.
Many lessons from this sweet soul… but the one thing that really stood out was the fact that no matter what she took the time to celebrate. If it was your birthday she was on your doorstop with a personal card just for you and money to buy something special for yourself with the reminder that “birthdays last for a whole week”. She did this until she couldn’t get around anymore. Can you imagine with the enormous family she has?!! As of today Miss Marge has 11 children, 11 more children that married in, 43 grandchildren, and 47 1/2 great grandchildren. In all of this we are only missing Craig’s dad. He would be so proud.
And one of her biggest lessons to me…
One summer night she came over with supper (Yes, how awesome!) and I was in my busy mode with three teenagers. She made me bring out the fancy dishes.. lovingly. I didn’t get it… but the fancy dishes came out. Everything she brought looked extra special in the fancy vessels…. I was thinking of all the extra work. I didn’t get it yet. We ate outside on the patio and we laughed and time stopped. Then I got it. She was teaching me to take the time to make any occasion a special celebration. I now own an astonishing amount of party ware. When Marge was recently moved into an assisted living, a sale was held to downsize her beautiful lifelong possessions. My most prized possession from Marge was a tarnished serving spoon that now sits proudly in my kitchen window. That spoon represents my Marge. A beautiful, fancy, useful, silver party spoon that is meant for celebrations. Nothing in this world will ever replace her. She is now in her golden years, she is the highlight at her new residence making everyone laugh and feel special. Although her memory is fading, she is even more amazing than ever.
She is the best Mother in Law that I could have ever asked for. God blessed me with a life coach of all life coaches. I’ve always rubbed her back and joked that I was looking for her wings. I learned that “most angels are not invisible and they usually leave their wings at home”. Marge, I LOVE YOU and I thank you for being the best Mother in Law ever. You are an incredible inspiration and I can only hope I can do the same for my family ❤