There are many reasons I fell in love with my husband, but looking back, I believe one of the first sparks came from witnessing the love he showed to his mother. It was evident and real. He loved and respected her fiercely. I guess it’s true what they say about mamas and their boys. Which is why, I knew if he treated her so well, he would surely make a fine husband and father.
I wasn’t wrong.
I told that story to my girls this week, as we shared memories of Grandma Sharpe. Sadly, their beloved grandmother and my lovely mother in law, left this earth, somewhat suddenly this past week. Her time had come, and though it’s never easy to understand the whys of losing a loved one, we were comforted in knowing that she would now be rejoicing in a heavenly reunion with her husband, Bill. I only knew her as a strong, independent woman, since cancer claimed her husband’s life before I came to be a part of the family. I always imagined what she must have been like with her true love by her side, but again, I only need look to her three sons, to understand the man he was.
Frances Marilyn McKie Sharpe was her full name, but she was known as “Mickey” by all who knew and loved her. Never have I known a more gracious hostess and giving person to all who met her. Our first meeting was as if we’d known each other for years. And let’s just say–it was no easy “first meeting!” My dear husband chose to introduce me to her and well, his ENTIRE family, at his brother’s wedding! No pressure…none at all!
(I’ve since forgiven him, after realizing his mom also raised him to do the dishes after dinner and help in all aspects of raising his children!)
Warm, welcoming, and inviting to all, she delighted in making others feel special. I was family before it became “official.” Not everyone can say they got along great with their mother- in-law. It’s rare. But I was blessed. So were my two sister-in-laws. What a gift! After raising three boys, we teased that mom was blessed with three fantastic daughter-in-laws, and six lovely granddaughters! And bonus—she got another boy! Seven grandchildren to love and treasure. The many gifts and lessons she passed along, they’ll carry with them always.
She was a class act in so many ways, and had exquisite taste in decorating and dress. I held her high on a pedestal for a long time, but soon learned she thought no better of herself than anyone else. While she loved to dress up and be the hostess with the “mostest”–she loved nothing more than dressing down and spending time with her family doing whatever we loved. We didn’t always agree—whoever “always” does with their mother in law? But the disagreement I remember most, was whether I’d have the expensive cake topper she had picked out, or the flowers I wanted on our wedding cake! I won that one! But then again, she backed away politely before it got to that point.
This one is tough. It’s never easy losing a parent, and though she was my husband’s mother–she was a second mom for me, in the truest sense of the word. For our children, losing a grandparent is never easy, no matter your age. That’s a pain I remember deeply. We’ll gather in a few days, to celebrate her glorious life on earth, and once again, we’ll see the impact she made on so many. These are the times that make you stop and pause. It’s a chance to really see what a person’s life can mean to those around them. She meant the world to me, and I miss her already.
I can only hope and pray, my three girls will someday meet the man of their dreams—who was raised by a mom he considered his first true love!