This summer I have been the recipient of lots of love and some pretty amazing gifts from my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and one of my (long deceased) great grandmothers. For the first time in years, maybe ever, I feel like a much-loved daughter. Gestures of affection and loving words have been somewhat rare in my relationships with the mother figures in my life, for various reasons, but this year during my husband's health crisis all that started to change. Maybe I am the one that has changed. It has always been somewhat difficult for me to accept help and support from my family, preferring always to be independant, self-sufficient, and (perceived to be) strong. Admitting I needed help, or even just some attention, has always been hard for me to do. In the past I preferred to keep my troubles to myself, but GB's illness changed all that. It became impossible to hold up emotionally without lots of support from our families, our friends, and especially our moms.
The first special gift I got was on our 5th wedding anniversary back in June. My sweet mother-in-law came to visit and during a private moment presented me with the wedding ring given to her by GB's father. Although they divorced when he was in high school (and both remarried) they remained good friends that were both deeply committed to their children. Unfortunately, GB's dad passed away (from cancer) before I had a chance to know him. I have been told that he was a wonderful dad, and his three children miss him terribly. My mother-in-law speaks fondly of him and their years together. She wanted me to have her wedding ring as a gesture of love from both of them with gratitude for "how good you've been to our son while he's been sick". I was deeply touched, and will cherish the ring forever, as well as the thought behind the gift.
The next gift came from my mom, and her grandmother, my great-grandmother Ella Turner Poston. She (my great-gran) was a family legend for her fiery temper and headstrong ways. She was outspoken, stubborn, and had strong opinions about people. Whenever any of the girls on that side of the family lose their temper or show a fierce independent streak, we say that's the "Ella" coming out in them. My mom, who took after her grandmother in temperament, was her favorite grandchild, and so when I was born I became her favorite great-grand. I remember her, actually. She passed away when I was 9 or 10 years old, although she was a very old woman and in a nursing home by the time I remember seeing her regularly. When I was a baby and toddler, she spent money regularly on fancy dresses for me to have my pictures taken in. She never paid much attention to my cousins, for some reason, but she showered me with attention.
So unknown to me, my Granny Poston had a ruby ring (her birthstone) that she loved when she was young. When she was middle aged, and a long time widow, she lost the ring. She had a gentleman friend who was a widower, and according to my mom he was "sweet on" her, although she would never agree to be anything other than friends. Anyway, he found out she had lost her ring, felt bad about it, and rushed out to a little jeweler's shop and bought her a new one for her birthday. She was thrilled with it and wore it every day for the next 20 years or so. When she passed away, my mom inherited the ring. I never remember seeing it or hearing this story. Possibly a ruby ring doesn't mean much to a 10 year old, or possibly my mom put it right away for safe keeping and I never noticed, but for whatever reason, I had never heard the story
After my mother-in-law gave me her wedding ring, my mom remembered my granny's ruby ring that had been sitting in a jewelry box for the past 25 years or so. Then she remembered a verse in the bible (in proverbs) about a good wife being more precious than rubies, and she decided that I should have the ring. She said she was so impressed with how loving and patient I was with my husband this year, and how well I was (am) handling his illness, that she thought I deserved this ring. She said she also wanted me to remember, whenever I look at it, that she loves me, my grandmother loved me, and my great-grandmother also loved me. That I come from a long line of feisty, strong, independent women and I can handle any challenge that comes my way.
I intend to wear it forever, and to remember.
Tomorrow: something special from another grandmother, this time on my dad's side. I am one lucky, loved woman.