Me? No, not me. That distinction is reserved for my Mother-in-Law who’s celebrating her birthday today.

I’ve actually heard the horror stories of terrible MILs and I can’t even fathom that as a reality. I am so blessed to have a MIL like Grace. She is everything that I’m not and some things that I am which enables us to get along fabulously. I like to think that I’m the daughter she never had and she is more like a mom to me than a MIL. From the moment we met, we clicked and while I’m not saying we haven’t had our tiffs (usually my fault) I couldn’t ask for a better second mom to me and grandmother to my kids.

This woman has an unending supply of patience – for everyone. And believe me, in this family patience really IS a virtue. All told, she has 5 grandkids.. our three girls and then our niece and nephew from Steve’s brother. When the kids were younger, it was nothing for her to wrangle all 5 with her constant crafts and baking and games. Going to Gammy’s always was and still is a fun time for the kids. These days, our trips are not very frequent with the distance between us (a fact that she is far from crazy about) and are limited to us going upon Father’s Day and them coming down at Christmas. Last year we added each of the girls staying for a week during the summer which opens up a whole new book of fun and memories.

Other than taking care of my FIL, her primary goal in life is to make memories and traditions. Whether it’s the ornaments at Christmas or the Madam Alexander Doll collection for the girls, she’s always looking for ways to make memories. It’s an art and an act that many have forgotten so to see someone put so much effort into it, is amazing and something we cherish. She is a crafter and an artist. Every time she’s here, like Mary Poppins, she brings her bag of “tricks”. Some new craft to do with the kids that she’s discovered in a magazine or thru her friends. No Christmas is complete without something being made with ribbons, bells and chocolate.. just not all together.

She is a quilting artisan – the work she puts out are nothing short of amazing. Each of the kids received their own masterpiece on their 8th birthday. Each getting more intricate and beautiful as they progressed. The one she made this year for Cassie was hands down my favorite of them all and
that’s hard to say. This picture doesn’t even come close to doing it justice but you get the idea – the woman is amazingly talented and each stitch is placed with love. They’re a keepsake that can be passed down to my grandchildren.

She lives for her family. From my FIL to my husband to his brother to the kids and to us – the DILs, nothing she does is without thought and care for us. She is a breast cancer survivor who does more than she should and makes us all worry that she is pushing herself too far. But, I wonder sometimes if that’s not one of the reasons that she makes memories, tradition and family such a priority. I think she would do it regardless, but having survived a diagnosis like cancer makes it even more important. I wish that I had more things from my grandmother to remember her by.

If her birthday is only full of half the love and wonder she gives our family, then I believe her day will be busting at the seams.

We love you Gammy, Mom, Grace… thank you for what you are to this family. The glue that holds us together.

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