A lovely, unexpected consequence of marrying my husband was that I gained another grandma. In fact, I used to joke with him that I married him for his grandma. I felt an instant connection with Lucile the moment we met, early on in my dating history with my husband. I was captivated by her Southern charm, her warmth, her keen intellect, curiosity and wit.
Soon after my husband and I got engaged, we asked Lucile to marry us. At our wedding, she charmed everyone. It’s fair to say she stole the show.
She passed away at the tail end of 2010. And in 2011, we welcomed our daughter, Lucile, into the world.
I often reflect on the wisdom Lucile imparted that day, exactly eight years ago. In that spirit, I wanted to share an excerpt from the ceremony:
Two weeks ago, June 30th was the 67th anniversary of the day I married my husband. We had a long and happy life together. In many ways, we led a charmed life. Of course there were trials and tribulations. That’s part of the human condition. You lose people who are dear to you. You have setbacks and disappointments. But there are so many joys and delights. And when you share them all with the one person you love most in the world, what else can you call it but a charmed life ?
If I have one bit of advice for you both, it is this: each of you should always do more than your share. Always go more than halfway. I’ve known people who divided their married lives into, “this half mine, that half yours”. But marriage is a sharing; not a loss of independence, not a total merging, but a sharing.
Let your love brim over the edges. Let it flow and melt into each other’s life. Don’t hold it back, don’t stick to your side. Always go more than halfway, and love will meet you on the other side.
Baking cupcakes for my son’s birthday the other weekend makes me think of my mom. As I show him how to use a hand mixer, I remember how I learned this from her years ago – the same familiar whir of the beaters against the bowl, learning how to move the bowl around slowly and scrape the batter off the sides as you go. Making sure to add the dry ingredients gradually to avoid a cloud of flour.
I realize, as I do frequently these days, that I want to share all these things my mom taught me with my kids. The further I go down the path of parenting, the more I uncover the many lessons and nuggets of wisdom gently instilled from my mom. Without further adieu, a short, sweet thank you to my sweet mom.
Thank you for letting me make a mess. Whether through cooking, making “potions” in the bathroom with sundry medicine cabinet supplies, or taking over the living room with elaborate pillow and blanket forts, you encouraged us to create, to discover, to get messy.
Thank you for letting me make mistakes. Whether in cooking or in life, you allowed me to make mistakes and try again, all the while, supporting me with unconditional love and patience.
Thank you for nurturing my interests. Not prescribing them to me, but observing them within me and then helping them develop.
Thank you for supporting my dreams, whatever they have or may be.
Thank you for helping me become me.
Thank you for all these gifts I’m rediscovering in the most beautiful way as a mom. I love you.