Saturday, May 24, 2014
This One's for Margaret
On any given Saturday morning you can find me sitting on the couch in my robe, clutching a cup of fresh coffee and chatting away with one of my favourite people. Her name is Margaret and she is pretty much the best mother-in-law anyone could ask for.
I first met Margaret not as his girlfriend, but as a classmate of Sean's. I remember when I shook her hand that I felt the moment of our meeting was very special and that for some reason it was very important that she like me. Just over a month later, I had dinner at their home as Sean's girlfriend and she made me so comfortable and welcome that by the end of evening I knew I'd found my second family.
But that's Margaret. She's just one of those people that makes you feel like everything in your life that is good is worth celebrating. Whether you've just gotten a new pair of shoes that you're totally jazzed about because not only are they pretty, they are also comfortable or you've just landed a job you really wanted, Margaret is your champion. A few weeks ago I was telling a friend of mine about how enthusiastic Margaret is and said to my friend that even if you'd done something as simple as switch breakfast cereals, but it was a change that you made you a happier person, she'd be the one to share this news with because she'd be right there with you and happy that you found something good about breakfast.
The opposite is also true. Cut off in traffic? She's got some curse words to add to your story that you may not have thought of! Publicly embarrassed yourself in a way that makes you want to go live out the rest of your days in a cave on a remote island? She'll empathize with a tale of her own. Had pretty much the worst day of your life? Margaret will offer you genuine sympathy even though her own personal and present story could knock you sideways.
To call Margaret a story teller is an understatement. She's a story teller and keeper of tales. Not just of her own but of her, but of the history of her family and many friends. When she talks of her parents, her sisters, and growing up in Weston, ON. you live the events with her. The house she grew up in becomes your house. The memories she shares become your own.
And, Margaret loves to hear your stories too. Often when she calls I will say to her, "Oh! I have an awesome story for you!" and she will usually say, "Oh good!" and settle in. She'll listen with her usual enthusiasm and laugh at all the right parts, but you know you've told a really good story when you get to the climax of the tale and from the receiver you hear…nothing. This silence is actually the sound of Margaret laughing so hard that there is no noise coming out of her. This could go on for a few seconds and is followed by a gasp and more laughter as she remembers to breathe. It's a beautiful sound.
She is an incredibly thoughtful person. It doesn't seem to matter what she is going through, she will remember to call you to wish you good luck on the first day of your new job, or to wish good luck to a grandchild on a the first day of school or school play. Birthday's are filled with many happy greetings and a song. And more often then not, the phone calls are simply because she is thinking of you and wants to know how you are.
Family and good friends mean everything to her. She's a ferociously devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and all other titles she proudly wears. To be part of her inner circle is to be a part of a very special relationship. For good or ill, you know where you stand with Margaret. Be true and honest with her and you will have no better friend. However, wrong her or hurt someone dear to her and you may find yourself looking into the circle you were once a part of.
Margaret is also never a person to keep a positive observation to herself. If she likes the shirt your wearing, or your new hair cut, or she just in general thinks you look nice, or that you've done something worthy of mentioning, she will tell you. For those of us who know her, we know that compliments back to Margaret are not always taken seriously. But, Margaret is beautiful. She is more beautiful than I know she will ever allow herself to believe. We all see it even if she doesn't. She says that my daughter's eyes dance, that Sorcha's soul lives right there on the surface of them for all to see. Well that trait, and one of Sorcha's most wonderful, is something she inherited from Margaret. Her is soul is always there, watching you. It's not hidden. It's never in darkness.
Life is complex, deliciously amazing and scary, and at times deeply sad. We often question the cruel state of things, shout into the deep chasm of what seems unforgiving and pound our fits on the wall that sometimes blocks all hope. We question why over and over even though we know that there is no answer or no reason.
However, to Margaret there is always a silver lining. She said to me not long ago, "You have to dance, Cin. You dance when you can."
So, I will. No matter how hard things get I will dance.
And in the silence, I will hear her laughter.
Margaret, I love you and this is for you.