Happy 80th, Patty!

Today is my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. That's a photo of her, holding David when he was a baby. She looked pretty good for being a mom of 5 and working as a night nurse, don't you think? When I first met David, I was in my early 20s and he was in his early 30s. (I love to tease him that he married a trophy wife.) David is also the youngest of 5 children. Do the math. I am much younger than them. In fact, I have nieces who are my age.

As I was beginning to get to know David's family, I thought I had nothing in common with them. I thought they lived in a different era. I was young and stupid and didn't have any perspective beyond being young and stupid. Mostly, though, they intimidated me. They were all strong, independent, and unique. They were talented, intelligent, and determined. And I was just young and stupid.

Meeting David's mom scared the daylights out of me. David grew up in a small farming community and his mom had an enormous garden where she tilled, planted, and harvested vegetables. My mom killed green things by looking at them. David's mom canned thousands of quarts of fruit and vegetables. My mom bought canned goods at the store. David's mom worked the night shift as a nurse. Uh... my mom slept at night. David's mom loved to cut down trees and burn them, fix things with electrical tape, and make everything from scratch. My mom loved to sit by the pool and read a novel.

David grew up in Minnesota.
I grew up in California.

It couldn't have been more different.

So meeting Pat and hearing about her pot roasts and seeing the blankets she crocheted and the quilts she sewed and the legend of her nursing skills... well, I was a wee bit overwhelmed. But as I spent more and more time with David's family and with his mom, I realized I was incredibly fortunate to have the chance to be with them. They've taught me a lot, in ways they would never know, about how to live. And I grew up a lot and left behind my young stupidity. My mother-in-law is as dear and funny and sweet as all get out, and she has 80 years of life to celebrate today.

Happy Birthday, Pat.


Bekka-Reeeeeeee said...

All I can say is, what a fantastic post dedicated to a fantastic woman!

jayme said...

What a beautiful tribute to an inspirational woman! may her 81st year be her best year yet!

Chatter said...

She sounds like an incredible woman! Happy Birthday Pat!!

Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud at the comparsion of Dave's beloved mother Pat and your mother. Both are blessed to have you and Dave as children.
Love, Set Ayat