Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mother-in-Law o' Mine, Part Four

Just to make it easy to follow this lengthy, drawn-out story, it began here in Part One, continued here in Part Two and Part Three, and hopefully this post will be the conclusion!  But being concise is not exactly my strength when it comes to writing on my blog, so we'll see what happens.  :)

After Jeff's dad died, his mom sold their house in Big Bear, got rid of a lot of her possessions, and moved in with Jeff's sister Kim in San Diego.  This all occurred while we were living in Israel, and we were immensely grateful for Kim opening her home and for Jeff's mom being cared for in that way.  Jeff and I had always said that we would do our best to make ourselves available to whichever set of parents needed us, but living in the Middle East made it very difficult to be any kind of practical help to Jeff's mom at that time (especially because she had said she would fly almost anywhere to visit us, BUT NOT TO ISRAEL!), so our hearts were lightened immeasurably by the way it all worked out.

The next several years passed with us having only occasional visits to California.  Looking back, I'm actually amazed by how often we got to visit.  Part of that was due to Jeff's dad's illness--we flew back to California just a month after we had arrived in Israel (that was when his dad was in the hospital in very serious condition), and we flew back two months later, shortly after he died, so that we could be with the family.  From those visits, I remember sitting with Jeff's mom in the waiting room of the hospital as she kept her constant vigil during those days of uncertainty.  I remember how she so lovingly held and played with Josiah.  I remember times spent with her at Kim's house.  I remember talking about the paintings done by Jeff's dad.  I remember watching home-design shows and talking about decorating homes.  I remember the way she cooked lavish meals for us when we came to visit.  I remember how the refrigerator and freezer were always stocked with the things we liked best (and couldn't always get in Israel): Vanilla Coke, Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, whole milk (because anything less is just colored water!)  :)  She mourned with dignity and hope, and she never let her grief stop her from heaping love on her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren.

One other spectacular thing that she did during those years was pay for our possessions to be moved from California to Virginia.  When it became apparent that we would be returning to Virginia when the time came for us to leave Israel, she decided to use a portion of the money she made from the sale of her home in Big Bear to pay for the move.  That thar is a whole 'nother story that I might write about some other time (bottom line:  check out any potential moving company VERY thoroughly so you don't get sucked into a scam and get ripped off horribly), but my point is that she so generously funded that for us, and that was an enormous blessing.

We returned to the States in the late summer of 2005, spent nearly a month in California, then slowly drove across the States to Virginia, stopping to visit friends and family along the way, and arriving here in mid-September.  The following year, Jeff's mom came for a visit in March--her first time ever in my ol' stompin' grounds.  And so began our pattern of interacting that would continue for the next few years.  She would come for a week or two, Jeff would take as much time off work as he could afford, and we would plan special activities or go for a trip with her, seizing the opportunity, not only for our little family to have a mini-vacation, but also to show her some parts of the world that she had never seen.  That first trip, we took a day-trip to Washington, D.C.; and we also went back to Highland County for the Maple Festival, surely an integral part of almost everyone's Bucket List!  :)  In 2007, she came in October, and we drove up to Niagara Falls.  In 2008, she came in September, and we went to New York City.  In 2009, she came in August to help us after Shav was born.  But a month or two before she arrived, a conversation occurred that shifted the course of my relationship with her.  

I'm sorry to leave a cliff-hanger, but I have no more time to write now.  Why, oh why, do I get so wordy and take so long to finish my stories??  :)


Morning said...

you're as bad as dickens (but without the funny names!) i keep checking your blog for the next instalment. don't keep us in suspense much longer!

Davene said...

Oh, Morning, I am so sorry! I am really not trying to be suspenseful with this. I just never seem to have enough time to sit down and fully write out the story. And then other things come along--like Thanksgiving and a two-day trip out of state--and that eats up more of my blogging time. But I will try very hard to finish it soon!

You are so dear to be so interested in this. :)

Polly said...

You are a master of suspense!!!

I have so enjoyed reading about your relationship with your mother-in-law. I just really appreciate the details of how things evolve, change and grow; relationships in general are so fascinating to me.