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The Good Mother

We celebrated Michael’s mom’s 75th birthday last weekend in Paris (Texas, that is). We planned and hosted a lovely reception for her. (Hoo-boy! was it a journey to get there!) In planning, it started out as a surprise reception and inviting everyone she has ever known. Then she found out about it, and it was turned into a small dinner party for about 30. Then the invitation list kept growing and growing, so we went back to a reception. In the end, about 100 of her friends and family came to celebrate this very special lady.

One of my jobs was designing the centerpieces. I was completely intimidated with this task! I’ve never done a centerpiece in my life, and in Paris, Texas, centerpieces are a big deal! Somehow we ended up throwing some things on a table, and it turned out pretty well. A florist did the arrangements, and I added the candles, stones, and frames. Sara’s sister, Jane, sent me about 25 old pictures of Sara through the years, and I think everyone really enjoyed seeing them.

Here’s how Nathan spent most of the evening. Strapped in and confined…and perfectly content playing his Leapster!

The family (soon to be seen in Christmas cards across the country). Michael’s brother, Harold, and his wife, Stacey, came in from San Diego. They were a huge help in the planning, and we always enjoy hanging out with them.

Reflections From A Party: Even though the planning and arranging was a huge ordeal, I really did enjoy the weekend. Sara is a pretty special lady with an amazing amount of patience and grace. She has always been the behind-the-scenes servant, and has done so much for so many, never expecting anything in return and never wanting to draw attention to herself. That’s just how she is.

Many of you know that Michael’s dad has Alzheimer’s – his symptoms started about 7 years ago, and as typical with this horrible disease, has gradually progressed until he has become someone that no one knows anymore. (And, of course, he doesn’t know many people anymore, either.) He’s still living at home, with Sara taking care of him, but this once gentle and funny man is now just plain mean and grouchy. I have a much harder time than the rest of the family separating the man from the disease, especially when he lashes out at my kids. I turn all Mama Bear and get really upset. But I realized this weekend how incredible my mother-in-law is – how she lives with this every day and tolerates so much with an abundance of grace and patience and forgiveness. I’m not sure I could be so understanding. We still wish she would get help in caring for him, but even so, I have so much admiration for her after this weekend.


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