(Written May 13, 2009)
On this day, a few days past Mother's Day, two incidents involving my mother-in-law come to mind.
The first was inadvertant. We were going home to Chicago after a short visit to my in-laws house in Wabash, Indiana. Nobody was ever overly affectionate in that household though I think everyone presumed they were loved. As we drove off, mindlessly I said "I love you" out the car window. I felt stupid but continued on with the business of going home. We'd forgotten something so we quickly turned around to get it. As we got there, Carl's mother was wiping away tears. I was profoundly amazed.
Years later, she and I were sitting in the back room watching television. Her feet were up on the couch. For whatever reason, I decided to rest my hand on her leg. I think it was because there was no room to lay my hand on the couch. She didn't move a muscle. I left it there for just a few minutes then moved it. I'm not sure why I remember that day so well or even at all, but I do remember it with great fondness and think how glad I am to have shown that tiny act of friendliness.
I miss her a lot. I wish I could hear the funny way she talked with her head cocked to the side. I wish I could hug her for the morning I was so appalled when I came in on her telling my two little sons the details of a horrendous crime she'd listened about on her police-band radio. I was always amazed at the way she could call up minutiae of facts, details and dates until I figured out she made up a lot of it as she went along. I’m so glad I told her I loved her even though it was just that once and I’m glad I showed her that little act of friendship for just a few seconds. She’s gone and I wish I’d shown her more, but I can’t. But I did show something.