Author and friend Barb Haller recently published a great article in Heart of Ohio magazine about getting along with daughter-in-laws. Her thoughts prompted me to think about the people who married my children and my relationships with them.
As is often the case, for good or ill, my son married his mother, figuratively speaking. Gina and I are/have been elementary school teachers, teaching a range of grades but settling into fifth grade. (Hers now is actually a combination fourth/fifth.) We are both from Tennessee. We both grew up in the Church of Christ. Both of us had mothers who loved the Lord wholeheartedly but at times drove us crazy. We both attended Lipscomb University.
We love foreign travel and home décor, though she’s taken it to a much higher level than I. We love auctions; she attends and buys now as I did years ago.
We both have strong opinions and are outspoken. Enough said.
Once Gina said the one word to describe herself was “well-intentioned.” I feel that way about myself as well. I intend to do so many good things for people that I don’t follow through on. Yet we both manage some helpful gestures. As she does more and more, I see myself doing less. But we both keep trying to improve, trying to show the love of Jesus in our everyday lives.
I remember the first time she visited our house–about 20 years ago–and I suggested we go out to lunch together. Little did I know she was terrified that I was going to offer some ultimatum about my son and their relationship. I was totally innocent, thinking that we could enjoy talking shop, as teacher to teacher. I could hardly get a word out of her. Now I know how rare that was! She kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We both maintain a sense of humor. How else could we survive working with students, parents, and churches?
So now we are dear friends. I love hearing about her church, school, and family activities. She’s a good listener about my life.
She goes far beyond me in her concern for both the environment and good nutrition for her family. I admire her interest in honoring the natural world God gave us. Her example and encouragement have prompted me to compost (over Steve’s strong objections), to recycle everything possible, to eat more natural foods, and, best of all, to be more assertive in sharing my love for Jesus.
When I refer to my children, I think of all four—the two we reared and the two they married. I will write about Stephen the next time.
For now, I must say that Gina is dear and precious to me—a true daughter and friend.