Mother-in-Law

Lily was born in 1921, in Ontario.  She was the youngest child in her family.  When she was still a young woman she fell in love with Kevin and they were married in 1944.  On her wedding day, the whole city was covered in ice and she couldn’t get to the church.  She went outside in her wedding dress, hailed down the milk truck, and hitched a ride to the church.

Soon after, they moved out west to Alberta, where Kevin worked for the Government of Canada.  In 1945, in Grande Prairie, Alberta, their first child, a son, was born, to be followed by nine other siblings.  Years later, when their youngest was about 4 or 5, they adopted two brothers, Bobby and Chris.

I met Lily in 1965, when she was in her early 40s.  It was Christmas time and I was teaching school about 3,000 miles away from my home.  I was dating her eldest son and she and Kevin invited me and my roommate to spend Christmas with them.

There were 17 people in that little three-bedroom house that Christmas.  Kevin and Lily, their 10 children, 3 foster children, and my roommate and me. The boys had to bring the battery from their little Volkswagen into the house at night so it would start the next morning.  It was -50º F.

I remember Lily as cheerful, positive, and kind.  She didn’t always have it easy but I don’t think she ever said a bad thing about anyone.  Her love for her husband and children was evident to anyone who knew her.  She didn’t talk much, unlike me, and never wanted to call attention to herself.  When we were alone, she spoke gently and lovingly.  I knew that if I spoke to her in confidence that it would never be betrayed.

Lily became a grandmother when she was in her early 40s, when our eldest daughter was born.  When we visited them on our return from Africa, she had a little foster child who was the same age as our daughter.  She never ever complained of hardship, and I know there were many, and she never complained of hard work.  She lived through years where there was no running water in their house and an indoor bathroom was far in the future.

When Lily was around 60, she lost her beloved Kevin.  Her heart was broken, but she was strong and concerned for her children.  Since then she has lost two sons, Bobby and Michael.

Lily is 91 years old.  She is in hospital in Alberta, surrounded by many of her children.  What an example of a good woman.

In Proverbs 31, it says of a good woman that “her children will rise up and call her blessed.” 

I am proud to be her daughter-in-law and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.  I send her all my love and affection.  I only wish I was half the woman she is.

Lily, I salute you!

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11 responses

  1. So often people don’t get on with their in-laws but it sounds like you certainly do. She sounds like a lovely lady, happy mothers day to her from Australia too!

  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law. Sounds like she is special indeed and lucky to have a daughter-in-law who speaks so kindly of her. Guess you are both blessed to be in each other’s lives.

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