The Book of Glad
In the 40 years of knowing my mother-in-law (who died last August), it is only after she died that I have discovered that we actually shared many of the same traits and tastes. (I am going to write in the present tense, it’s just easier.)
We are both not the greatest of cooks, but she really loved making bread. And her turkey soup was good. I, on the underhand, despise the kitchen. I only get excited about the decorative hand towels that I hang on the oven door.
If we both find a product that we like, we buy massive quantities of it. Hers was books, emery boards, tealight candles, fragrance air freshener refills, ballpoint pens, little wicker baskets, Kleenex, and small handled plastic storage cubes. My obsessive buying involves large quantities of Bath and Body Work soaps and hand sanitizers, toilet paper and paper towels, scissors, underwear, socks, (well, actually all clothing), camera memory cards, and greeting cards.
When I popped in to visit her last summer, the TV was tuned to a Hallmark Movie. I thought it was a mistake as my MIL never gave any indication that she was into sappy television, but she happily informed me that she shared my love of romance movies that always end the same way. We also both like the musical group Celtic Woman and share a mutual love of photography. Her forte was nature and still-lifes, while I enjoy taking photos of family and friends, nature, and birds. She belonged to various camera clubs and won hundreds of ribbons. The walls of her house were adorned with framed photos of her winning shots. I have lots of photos of my family hanging on the walls of the Homestead and I make photo books that line the shelves of our bookcases in several rooms.
Yesterday, I spied a little book with ballet dancers adorning the cover on a little nook in the kitchen. Intrigued, I pulled it out and opened the pages. In the inside, my MIL had written, “Audrey – Glad Book”. Her written entries (she had beautiful handwriting) began on December 17, 1991. She wrote random snippets of things, people and events that made her glad – there were only 35 pages, but they gave insight into her feelings and emotions, some of which she never expressed aloud. She wrote a lot about the love she shared with my father-in-law, who died in August of 1995. She expressed her sadness and grief years after he died. She was glad for snow and skiing, her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Several times she wrote of her happiness of a fireplace on a cold winter morning. Books, coffee, and music made her heart soar. She wrote of her numerous pets through the years, who brought comfort and joy to her, and who kept her feet warm at night. The little things in life made her glad: clean windows, automatic washing machines, her lighted candles in all of the windows of her house, sunshine, silence, yellow leaves sleeping on green grass, windchimes, rocks, planting her garden, pleasant sales clerks, sleeping in on rainy mornings, having enough of everything. One of her last entries was poignant - she wrote that she was glad that she “was feeling better today than I felt yesterday.”
I am glad (no pun intended) that I found Audrey’s Book of Glad. I learned many things about her that I never knew. I laughed at some of her entries and felt sadness at others. She’s inspired me to begin my own book of musings.