Monday, April 29, 2013

More than a mother-in-law

My bridesmaids dubbed her Blanche Devereaux after the hot-to-trot Golden Girl.
That kind of describes my mother-in-law, Janice. Always dressed to the nines. Hair perfectly coiffed. Makeup impeccable. Nails manicured. Feet pedicured. Bangles and baubles and bling.

The first time I met Janice was at the airport in Sacramento, California. Scott and I had been dating for just 5 months when he brought me to his hometown.
My armpits were drenched in sweat, my hair had gone limp and my capris were wrinkled from the flight. There Janice stood waiting for us, completely decked out in a yellow spring suit.

I remember her hugging me warmly, as I fretted that she was really thinking "Who the heck is this girl from the East Coast stealing my baby boy?"

Never has she made me feel that way, but I think maybe it has crossed her mind once or twice.
As a mom I know how devastating that might be for my kids and grandkids to live so far away.

Not once has she begged us to move to California or made us feel guilty for not making it to every family function. She has accepted our fate and she has made the best of the situation. She visits as much as she can and she puts her heart into loving Julie, Johnny, Scott and me. Though it makes me sad that she doesn't live down the street, over the years we have become unbelievably close. She's my West Coast mother.

I wished we all lived in the same town, dropping by for dinner on Sundays or shopping at Macy's on Saturdays, or watching swimming lessons and t-ball games and singing along with Julie as she plays piano. I know she feels the same.

Usually after a long visit, Janice's eyes well with tears, and I see in her a sadness and a longing. I understand.

Yesterday was one of those times. Janice was here in Chicago visiting for a week and we had a great time...exploring new sites, restaurants and museums. Yesterday we said goodbye.

Janice and I in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

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