Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another Woman's House

I'm home again after a few days at my son Aaron's home in Fairmont. It wasn't a planned visit.

Something happened to Jaime. What exactly it was we're not sure yet, but it was frightening. Something--an allergic reaction to medication, most likely--caused some scary days for her, and for all of us who love her.

The only thing I could do to help was to stay at their home and watch their two children, so that's what I did while my son and Jaime's mother stayed at the hospital. I think I got the best part of it, because staying with grandchildren is a treat and not a chore, and I've stored away some great memories from these past days. But I got more than that from this visit.

Being in another woman's house when she isn't home is illuminating. All houses are basically the same--rooms for specific functions, cabinets and closets and furniture. But each of us designs our space and how we interact with that space differently. Staying at Aaron and Jaime's house this week gave me some insights that were unexpected.

The main thing I learned was my daughter-in-law's heart. It's everywhere in her home. Her love for her children and husband are a given. Her love of animals is perhaps to be expected of someone with a veterinary science degree, although with three cats, a dog, a hamster and fish to care for, I joked with my son that he actually had mini-farm in his home.

It was the little things, the little touches of Jaime's hand, that intrigued me. Rocks, for example. A beautiful rose quartz piece on her dresser, pebbles in flower pots, artful arrangements of pretty shaped stones in gardens spoke of an understanding and appreciation for these often overlooked artifacts (rocks are some of the oldest "antiques" on earth, but we treat them with so little interest). Candles arranged with lavender and stacks of books spoke of inner peace; the ivy hair wreath hanging in the kitchen of her Celtic interests and the straw garden hat hanging with dried lavender of her love of flowers and plants.

Little touches everywhere--a sundial in the garden, pots on the porch with plants that will be pretty all winter, a well-stocked pantry that speaks of someone who cooks from scratch and not from boxes, hand crocheted afghans, hats and scarves of a woman with crafty hands. Christmas decorations showed her talent for crafting with nature--pine cones, baskets and handmade ornaments on the tree.

It became clear that this was a woman who appreciated the simple things in life--home, family, nature. Her desires aren't for bigger and better but for loving and caring. It made her sudden illness doubly hard to take, and I prayed that she would be able to return to the home she loved so much, and to continue living the life she had thoughtfully made for herself and her family.

Today she came home--not completely well, but on the way to recovery. Doctors and specialists are still trying to ascertain what happened and why. Jaime will need time to regain her strength and abilities. But at least she's home, and that is what she wanted most of all.

I've known this woman for almost 10 years, and yet it was this three-day stay in her home while she was gone that allowed me to see her heart. I expected to enjoy being with the kids and to be able to get to know them better. I did not expect to get to know Jaime better, but that's what happened. She's one of a kind, and Aaron is a lucky man.


Momma Mary said...

I am so glad that there really ARE other people out there that don't fall into the typical Mother-in-Law/Daughter-in-Law Stereotypes. I have a similar wonderful relationship with my Mother-in-Law. I count myself luck.

I will keep Jaime in my thoughts and prayers. It is terrible that they don't know what is wrong. I'm sure she appreciates all of the help she's getting from such a wonderful Grandmom!

Granny Sue said...

I'm lucky to have good daughters-in-law. I will admit that in many ways it's the toughest of relationaships. I try to be careful not to overstep boundaries--in a sense, I'm the other woman in my son's lives :-) I take my cues from these women and from my sons. So I'm there if they need me, offer advice only when asked (well, I try to be that way! that's the hard part) and am thankful that my sons are well taken care of by women who love them. A mother can't ask more than that.

Jaime said...

I can never really show you how much I appreciated you taking care of the kids. That part of my worrying eased knowing you would be here with them. For that I'm eternally grateful.

When Aaron told me that I just had to read your blog, I did not expect as much emotion as I felt. For that I was left speechless and yes - with tears in my eyes. Which btw is not terribly easy with this headache. I kind of saw myself in a different light, which is not something one can do often, and I felt the love that you extended. Thank you very much in more ways than one and more than I can express.

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