I love my mother-in-law.Â She is an amazing woman who puts her faith and family first.Â And she does this most often by putting herself last.Â I’m grateful that she accepted me into the family – baggage and all!
Here she is with her grandchildren in 1993Â on her 65th birthday.
She has been a widow for over 30 years.Â She has 4 children, the youngest 2 of which she raised without a husband.
This was taken on Thanksgiving, 2003.
She grew up during the Depression and lived on a farm with her parents and younger brother.Â Her brother and his family continue to tillÂ and raise cattle on land that has been in the family since the Civil War era.Â A visit to the cemetery in the small town near where she grew up is like a trip down the ancestral memory lane.
We’ve taken the kids to visit the “old farm” a few times.Â The house has been torn down, but the barn still stands along with the windmill that pumps the water from the well.Â I love to listen to the sound of it creaking as it turns slowly.Â Â Sounds trigger memories with me, and this is one of them that I love to think about.Â The barn is still used for storage, and the land is still used to graze cattle.
We love to hear the stories of how they took Christmas pictures out on the porch (they moved the tree and everything!) and all slept on the main floor during the winter due to the cold.
She cuts her own yard with a push mower, but she does use a tractor to cut the fields.Â She still has a garden and maintains her home.Â She is a great seamstress, and I consider her to be one of the best Christmas cookie bakers around.Â My favorite Christmas cookie, Grandma’s Double Deckers, is from a recipe that has been passed down for generations in her family.
She had Christmas Eve for many years, but willingly passed the traditions of her childhood and those of her family on to the next generation.Â She drives all over a 2-state area to visit her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.Â That is, when she can fit that in around her WORK schedule.Â Yes, she still works.
Here she is with her youngest great grandbaby at his Baptism this past September.
She has many grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
And she travels all over the country vacationing with her children and their families.Â She’s an adventurous sort – she even went white water rafting with us on the Colorado River a number of years ago.Â She trekked all over Ireland with my sister-in-law and niece.Â She now goes to San Diego every year for Thanksgiving.
This was from her birthday this year.Â We took her out to the Botanical Garden and dinner after she got off work.
As we approach our annual cookie baking day and another holiday season, I am reminded of how our family holiday traditions have followed along with those of my husband’s family.Â And I have my mother-in-law to thank for that.