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A Tribute to my Mother-in-law
One of the ways we are preparing for our baby’s adoption is by getting a bigger car. Our (awesome, well-loved, cool-color) Saturn Vue was no longer an option for us as we prepare to put a third car seat in our vehicle. So we put our car up for sale and began to look for a minivan (yay!), and to our surprise, the selling of our car and the purchase of our van went way faster than we expected! All was said and done within a week, which was amazing and a blessing! But what caught me by surprise was how much I cried over the selling of our Saturn.
You see, our Saturn was more than just a car to me. Yes, it was the only car John and I have ever had together, and yes, it’s seen our family grow from 2 people to 4 people. And yes, we’ve traveled the U.S. with that lovely blue (yet green) car! But to me, that car was one of the only things I have ever owned that was touched by my mother-in-law. A dear woman whom I never knew.
John’s mom Emily drove that car. She sat in the driver’s seat and turned on the seat warmer just like I did every winter. She turned on the radio and rolled down her windows just like I did over the years. She drove the car with her loved ones riding along just like I have with my loved ones. So whenever I touched the steering wheel, I felt like I was touching Emily’s hand. Whenever I turned on the seat warmer, I would think of her turning it on in the ‘winter’ of Florida and chuckle over the different definitions of ‘winter’.
And so selling that car was like saying goodbye to one of the only ways I have physically connected with Emily. And my heart breaks. My heart breaks that she died in 2007 and I met John in 2008. I felt like I just missed meeting her and knowing her. My heart breaks that I never got to know the woman who raised the incredible man that John is. My heart breaks that she never got to know our two girls and watch them grow up. I know she would have spoiled and loved Mercy and Eden to the nth degree. I mourn the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship that never will be (in this lifetime at least).
And so I’ve cried. A lot. I sat in our blue Saturn Vue one last time, telling Emily thank you for how she provided for our family. By giving her car to us, we were able to visit friends and family across the U.S. We were able to grow our family by two more people. And now by selling her car, we were able to buy a minivan for our expanding family. John and I talk about how had she not given us that car, we would have had to use a jalopy to get us through over the years. So we have so much to thank her for.
And John is so good to remind me that my dear mother-in-law lives on in him and in his two sisters. That I get to see glimpses of the woman she was whenever I look at John and Caroline and Molly. All three of them have the same generous spirit that Emily had. They excel in acts of service and gift-giving just like she did. And so while the car was a part of Emily’s life, she is even more alive in her children, in her sisters, and all the cousins from that side of the family. So even though the car is gone, the spirit of Emily, the love of Emily continues to live on. And so whenever I miss that sweet-colored Saturn, I will remember that her love continues to carry on through our family.