Thursday, July 19, 2007

The mover, shaker and the Pyramid maker......

A road trip to the mid-west with Allen and Jon for Allen's family reunion....what to expect? For me, honestly, I thought it could only mean a quirky and interesting introduction to my husbands family who I had not yet met, even though we are going on two years of marriage. For Allen, perhaps some anxiety mixed in with joy at seeing his family for the first time in a long time, especially his mother who he loves and as he stated "you never know what you are going to get". For Jon, a very long car ride with his (annoying) parents and an ever so boring view (lots of green cornfields) and more boring moments to come.

What we really got was, well, so much more. Driving to Indiana from Pennsylvania entails lots of green, mountains of green, then flat greens. The 10 hour
drive would end at the home of my sister-in-law Lauren and her partner Lynn. They being the mover, shaker and the pyramid maker (will explain later). We knew that we'd arrived when we noted the political stickers at the front gate. The long driveway was segway to a colorful and lush garden, huge barking dogs, and the most beautiful Arabian horses one could hope to see after a long drive. Outside, my eyes were drawn to the white haired woman carrying a bucket, pants scrunched up to the knees, this being my mother-in-law, Kathleen Kester, who had just finished planting some fruit trees. Lauren and Lynn soon follow with embraces that immediately made me feel at home.

Inside, we were greeted by the tiniest Yorkie named, Nettie, who is quite the hostess and according to all very sick. Nettie in all her spunk d
oes not know quite how sick she is having severe COPD. Nettie soon settles into a week long of hugs, kisses and lots of love from Jon and I. So here I am in a family that so loves animals and I marry the only one who would rather eat them. Oh did I also mention Kathleen brought along with her, from her home in New Mexico, her beloved Maltese's Marcie and Cherry. Yes, it was my husbands worse nightmare, a house filled with dogs and worse than that a bunch of women who love these animals more than anything. His other sister Janine has 20 dogs, all whose names start with the letter "S". She can recite their names quite easily too. I think Janine felt it was best for Allen not to even know.

Lauren and Lynn kindly set up a tent on their property and this worked out very nicely, except on the night in which the horses were passing the tent in the middle of the night and I thought it was some insane animal, like a bear, or worse a hyena (do those even live in Indiana?).

During this visit there was a lot of reminiscing about their childhood, and Kathleen's life. Kathleen moved to New Mexico and started a whole new life after her divorce from Allen's dad. My husband has often spoken of his mom as an artist but truly I cannot even begin to describe what a gifted woman she is. She is an artist in all mediums, specializing in carvings, be it wood, stone, turquoise, bronze, she does it all. I believe Kathleen was a prodigy who never went to art school or when she attempted her husband said absolutely not. She was born with a gift, one that few people have naturally. After several days with my new family I felt sad that I could not spend more time with my mother-in-law. I wish that I could just talk to her about her work for days, trying to capture, just for a bit, her genius.

Lauren and Lynn, well they are just the most humble, kind and warm women and to say that I just love them is really so lame but sometimes that is the only way to say it. Lauren is a fighter (in a good way), she is a survivor and a lover. Lynn is quiet, sweet, and someone that you just know you can count on. Together they are perfect. So the reason they are the mover, the shaker and the pyramid maker is that when I asked where they slept, Lauren tells me they sleep in separate rooms because she moves a lot and gets up often because of her restless legs. Lynn just lays down on her side, face up, in a quiet and gentle posture, with her hands together making a pyramid with her fingers, peaceful as can be.

Two days after our arrival we all go to the family farm where there are numbers of cars, trailers and tents camping out for the "big" family reunion. It was a sweltering hot day but all 175 members showed up. I had never seen anything like it. I don't even think I know that many people. There was to be a family photo, yes with all 4 generations and 175 people. We all lined up in front of the old porch, babies, teens, adults and the elderly, patiently waiting for all the cameras to do their job. It was a lovely day with many lovely people.

Our trip, was a rich one. I got to see all the homes my husband lived in from the time of his birth. I got to view his family history through Lauren's labor of love - a scrapbook going back to her great grand-parents. This was a two book scrapbook honoring their mother's life. The best part was understanding my husband, who he is, where he came from and how he got to be where he is. My new family is quirky, funny, smart as heck and truly just another great addition to the family I already have.

Kathleen left the day before us to go back home to New Mexico. As we said our farewells, my heart went completely a flutter when to my great pleasure, Kathleen said six little words that made me so happy, "I think you are just swell" -- Yay I had my mother-in-laws stamp of approval. As for the others, I think we are all blessed.

Thanks Lauren, thanks Lynn...........till next time.


Matty said...

How wonderful! Now you have a larger family with so many great women! Did Jon enjoy it as much as you did?
Being around wonderful women like that just brings out the best in me. I can understand their love for dogs. I'm glad your husband had this opportunity to be with his family again.

simply me said...

Matty - Jon had such a great time. He even chose to stay with the women when Allen and I had to go visit a friend. He loved being around them and thought that Allen's mom and the girls were just great. He really embraced the whole thing.I am helping create a great man for some fine girl someday by exposing

Lisa said...

This is such a great story. I loved reading about it and I know I haven't finished hearing about it because we haven't really gotten to see each other for all that long lately. I'm looking forward to more stories over some wine. ;)

Of course your new MIL would think your were "swell"--you're the "swellest"!!