Friday, April 17, 2009

My Grateful Heart

I am sitting here, looking at a picture of my Beloved when he was just a wee boy. It’s a black and white photo, shot somewhere here on the farm. He’s wearing cut off jeans with white tube socks, the kind with the stripe across the top. His cowboy hat is pressed firmly in place and he’s wearing his favorite yellow shirt. I know it’s a yellow shirt because his mother told me so. Beloved is also wearing his leg brace on his right leg.

Beloved was born with Legg-Perthes Disease. Sounds frightening doesn’t it? It’s not really. Legg-Perthes is a form of osteonecrosis of the hip that is found only in children (1 in 1200) of which only about 5% are girls. Basically, bone death occurs in the ball of the hip which interrupts blood flow. The ball develops a fracture of the supporting bone, which signals the re-absorption of the bone by the body. The lost bone is slowly replaced by new tissue and bone.

Interestingly enough, children with LPD tend to be shorter in stature. This is not the case with Beloved, who stands a healthy six feet tall. The doctors informed Beloved’s parents that he would walk with a limp and would probably never run. He wore his little braces for a couple of years and when they removed it…he ran. You couldn’t stop him.

The picture that sits on my desk is one of my favorites. The smile on his face, featuring his Norwegian ancestry, reminds me so much of his mother that it makes me sigh. I loved his mother. The fact that I have this picture is somewhat of a miracle.

You see, I have a sister-in-law who is a white; trailer trash lacks any form of etiquette. We get along just fine, but she’s the kind of girl who says things like, “When you die I want…” Frankly, I think that’s kind of rude. In fact, I think it’s so rude that because I know what it is she wants (it’s a kitchen knife of all things) I want to hide it from her. I want to make sure she never gets it.

I am soooo cruel

Anyway, because my SIL kept saying to my MIL, “When you die I want that knife,” my MIL asked me what I wanted. I told I didn’t want anything. She pushed me a little bit and I confessed to her that the one thing that she had that I wanted was the black and white photo of my Beloved in his leg brace.

“I just love that picture,” I remember saying.

It wasn’t too long after that conversation that MIL gave me the photo. I quipped, “But you’re not dead yet!” She chuckled in her way and told me she wanted me to have it.

My MIL died May 10, 2003. It was sudden and tragically shocking. In many ways, I don’t think any of us have fully recovered from her loss. Not that we’d bring her back…after all, the poor woman was married for 49 years to FIL (and you know how I feel about him).

Looking at this picture, I remember the goodness in my MIL and I see that same mellow, goodness in my Beloved. The older he gets, the more like his sweet mother he becomes. I see her in his twinkling, sky blue eyes and his graying hair. I see her in the lines around his eyes and the set of his jaw when he’s miffed. All that and he has her wacky, strange, fringing on the downright bizarre sense of humor. I’m so grateful that my Beloved has taken after his mother and not after his father.

I had a run-in with FIL yesterday and I won’t report the details, but let me just say that I have never been so grateful in my life that Beloved follows after his mother. So. Grateful.

I’m not a big fan of divorce.

Beloved - 1971


tootie said...

I loved this story! And the picture is adorable :)

TexasRed said...

Aww.. great picture & what a wonderful memory of your MIL.

Kiva said...

Don't like divorce either. You're one lucky woman.

Eleanore said...


Sandcastle Momma said...

Your Beloved must be an amazing man. That post was so sweet and for you to have all of those wonderful feelings just looking at that picture tells what a lucky woman you are!

Bee and Rose said...

Stellar post! What a story! I did snorty snort with the whole trailer trash thing...giggle giggle...don't even get me!

I love the photo of your Beloved!

Roo said...

Very sweet story. It's nice to hear of a good MIL/DIL relationship.