My mother-in-law was a wonderful person. Funny. Happy. Energetic. Creative. Ellen was just about the best mother-in-law a girl could ask for and I'm going to miss her. I miss her already.
She's the one I called when I ran over and killed my husband's dog.
"Ellen," I sobbed. "I just killed Mike's dog!" sniff, sniff.
"What do you think I should do? Should I call him now, while he's at work, so he has time to think about it before he gets home? Or should I wait until he gets home so I don't ruin his day?"
No matter what, she was always there for us. When we had financial disasters, she would mail a check. When we had sick kids, she would send little care packages to them and offer "doctorly" advice over the phone. If I happened to mention I was sick of cooking, she would surprise us with a check in the mail so we could order a pizza.
The most important thing she taught me was to slow down and enjoy my children. She never seemed to be too busy when she had little children around her. Ellen would simply drop everything to do a project with our sons, or read a story, or make a tooth decaying snack for them. She would play games with them, or paint, or just sit and listen when they wanted to chatter. Grandma just knew how to relax and have fun with kids....
What always amazed me was the way she could spend so much time with them and still cook a huge meal, keep her house spotless, the laundry done and her groceries bought. In a word, that woman was organized!
One spring she gave up a month of her life to come spend it with us. I can't remember exactly how old our sons were, but I think they were close to being 3, 7 and 9.
Anyway-one morning I woke up and thought I heard whispers and giggling coming from somewhere in the house. It was still pitch black outside and I was sure the boys were still asleep. I threw my bathrobe and slippers on and crept out into the living room, where I thought the giggling had come from.
Sure enough, I had heard the joyful sound of giggles. As I stumbled into the living room I saw our 3 sons standing in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace. Next to them stood Grandma. She was wearing a Daffy Duck nightgown, roasting marshmallows with them in the pre-dawn darkness.
Marshmallows for breakfast? No wonder they'd been whispering.