In a previous post I invited you to meet Granny, my grandmother.  (Scroll down two posts to find Meet My Granny.)  Today I’d like to share my mother-in-law with you.  Her name is Jeanette

“Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her…”  -Proverbs 31: 28

When my first son was small, we went when we could to visit my husband’s parents at their lake cottage in northern Indiana.   They were wonderful hosts and always made us feel welcome and loved.  Their peaceful lake home sat right on a canal.  The views from the windows looked across a tree-shaded yard to the water where their speed boat and a paddle boat were docked.  At any given time you could look out and see ducks, cranes, and other interesting ‘lake birds’, boats going by, or fish jumping out of the water.  There were many interesting things for our little son to see!  It’s no wonder he enjoyed looking out the windows when we spent time indoors. 

While talking to Jeanette by phone a couple of weeks after one of our visits to their lake home, she said, “This might sound funny, but I haven’t washed the windows since you were here.  I still enjoy seeing your son’s handprints on the glass and just can’t bring myself to wash them off yet.”  My first thought to myself was, “No, that doesn’t sound funny.  I NEVER wash our windows!”  Then my heart took over allowing me to be wowed by what she just said.  As festidious of a housekeeper as she was, she looked past perfection and sought preservation of the moments when her grandchild had been there, leaving his handprints behind as evidence of the happy moments they’d shared.  

Hmmm…  I had a lot to learn from that.  I was so busy trying to be a good mom and keep up with tasks around the house (which included wiping off all the sticky handprints I found) that I was overlooking the ‘handprints’ moments with my own son!  And I certainly wasn’t allowing myself time to stand back and cherish them. 

That was just one of many lessons I learned from Jeanette’s kind and gentle ways. 

Jeanette always made me feel more like one of her own daughters than a daughter-in-law.  I never heard her raise her voice or speak negatively about others.  She took pride in her duties as a wife, mother, and grandmother, and even became a great-grandmother before losing her life to cancer. 

Jeanette was a wonderful cook.  I think it’s because she put so much love into everything she made.  And she didn’t just make food.  She was an incredible seamstress, making wedding dresses for her daughters, a bridesmaid’s dress and wedding hat/veil for mine; as well as bed covers, drapes, lounge chair covers, and even a boat cover!  She could whip up a pie in the blink of an eye, installed her own water heater, and did many other impressive things.  And she ALWAYS looked pretty.  Until she was no longer physically able, she was an amazing caregiver and life-partner to my father-in-law who is a quadripalegic (sp?) due to a tragic fall from a tree. 

Jeanette was so loved by all of us – her husband, children and spouses, and grandchildren.  She left behind wonderful handprints of love on all of our lives that we will never wipe away.  Instead, we will treasure them always. 

May you cherish the ‘handprints’ left by your  loved ones, too. 

With love to you, Jeanette, for all that you were and continue to be in our hearts.

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