When most people think of the words “mother in law” there are quite a few thoughts that come to mind, and not all of them are flattering. Images of a mother in law constantly meddling in a marriage or making trouble may come to mind, or perhaps the thought of a bitter old woman moving in and constantly bickering with you about your children.
My mother in law was none of those things, though. Victoria was a sweet, gentle woman. She welcomed me into both her home and family with open arms. It wasn’t just me. Victoria was well known as the neighborhood mother. She would never hear of a person being hungry without making them something to eat. This was simply the person that she was. If a child was cold, she would find them a coat. If an old woman needed anything, or a well-known friend needed a place to sleep, her door was always open.
Victoria was also known for her love for cooking. Every Thanksgiving it seemed as though the entire neighborhood would stop by, eager for a slice of one of her delicious pies or mouthwatering ham. There was not a single dish that she could not make, and they somehow always turned out fantastic. On the rare occasion something did not taste amazing, she could easily laugh it off.
She knew how to laugh at anything. Victoria was always looking for the silver lining in a grey storm cloud. When we bought our first home, it turned out to need quite a few more repairs than we thought. While I was a bit disappointed and angry, she simply said, “It will be a great learning experience! You can learn how to hang drywall, and Rodney, that was her husband, would love to help you with all of that!” That was the Victoria; always there to lend a hand or a smile. Whichever one you needed, she was more than happy to give it to you.
My mother in law also loved to sew and do many other things. She will forever be remembered for the things that she loved to do as well as for the love that she spread to others through her kind gestures. While she may not be with us physically today, her gentle spirit will remain in our hearts forever.