Mom #2

So as I wrote my post last week about my wonderful grandmother-in-law, I couldn’t help but think how blessed I’ve been with my second family (i.e., my in-laws). Gram was on my mind because she was just here for a visit, but I realized I have never really said much on the blog about my mother-in-law either. And let me tell you, much could be said. And it’s all good.

On a car trip to Michigan in 2010 (left to right: Parker at age 1, Cyndi, and Gary)

I’ve stopped thinking about Cyndi¬†as my mother-in-law, and more like Mom #2. My mom and I are incredibly close, so no one could take her place. But that’s the awesome thing about Cyndi. She has never tried to take that place. She knows that I consider my mom one of my best friends, and she has never infringed upon that. She has her own spot in my life. She has become a close friend and I have shared some of my deepest struggles as a person and as a mom with her.

Nor does she fill any of the mother-in-law stereotypes. She is the farthest thing from an overbearing, nosy, pushy, and unhelpful MIL. From day one she has treated me with respect and has honored my relationship with her son. Even when we were talking about marriage after only6 months of dating. She and her husband were patient, gave good advice, and then trusted us to make the right decision.

Leaving on the cross country drive to IL (left to right: Cyndi, Nikki, me, and Brian)

I had the privilege of getting to live with my in-laws for three months before we moved to Illinois. We needed a place to stay while our lease was up on our apartment and before school was going to start for Brian. It was the first time I felt like I got to know a bit of Cyndi. I learned that she was a really easy person to talk to. She would always listen and respond with empathy, but never overstep any boundaries with giving unwanted advice. In fact, the way she allowed Brian to blossom as an individual is a huge example to me in my own mothering. I freak out at the thought of Parker starting to make his own decisions (and sometimes bad decisions), and being okay with seeing him get hurt sometimes because of them. She is such an example of prayer and trusting God to ultimately take care of her children.At the LA Zoo in 2010

And she is generous. Whew. I can’t even begin to list all of the things she has done for us in getting us on our feet. From opening her own home, to her wallet, to her time–she is always there to help. Always to help and never to judge. What a huge blessing.

And her relationship with my sons? Incredible. I love watching her interact with them. She is so, so, so good with kids. I remember watching her teach Parker how to roll over when he was a baby. It was amazing to me to watch her patience and persistence. She just has a relaxed way of handling tantrums (which I hear she had plenty of experience with Brian!) and smoothing out bumps in the day. I love learning from her!