We recently moved out of my in-laws house. We lived there for a brief 2 months, but it was enough time for me to really fully acquaint myself with my mother in law. Living in such close proximity with people really allows you to see them for who they really are in their day to day life. I will freely admit that I had never given this woman as much credit as I should have.
She is amazingly skilled. She has many crafts, one of which is her gift of gardening. Her garden is spectacular. She's an artist. Truly. She attempts something new every year, whether that means she plants a new type of vegetable that the family has yet to sample - or she's trying her hand at some new fangled way of fertilizing her foods. She cans, she cleans, she wrestles with the earth, the weeds, and the vines that twist over and around each other. She tends these plants as if they were her children.
I've heard of people loving their vegetable gardens and even talking to their plants. I'd never seen it in person until the two months we spent with my husband's family.
My mother in law told me that she takes a week off three times a year. One week at the beginning of the summer, to plant her garden, one week mid August to can, and lastly a week in October to finish up the gardening and prepare for next Spring. She says every year that she won't have a garden the next. We always laugh and say "Yes you will." As much as she pretends that she doesn't like it, we all know that she loves it.
I've never in my life met someone who has as many projects. She rarely sits still. On the rare occasion that you may catch her sitting she is usually perusing the internet for new recipes, ways to can more efficiently, and/or plants she hasn't yet planted. For the most part though, she is constantly on her feet cooking, baking, canning, working in the yard, digging in the garden - amongst a plethora of other activities.
She has a natural way about her that I have envied and admired all at the same time. She does for other people without hesitation. She gives. She desires to help. She has a "servant's heart". It is lovely. She has passed that quality on to her son, my husband. It is a wonderful and irreplaceable quality. While some people (myself included) have to strive to accomplish this virtue - she comes by it characteristically.
While it was only a mere two months we spent with my in laws, I count it as good fortune. I am glad that I had the opportunity to get to know my husband's mother better. I received several blessings living there that I would have never had the honor of collecting had we never had the experience. I grew to enjoy the art of cooking and creating something delicious to eat. I was able to watch my oldest son develop a strong foundational relationship with his grandparents. I was given the privilege of becoming friends with my mother in law. I was able to see first hand the love and tenderness towards her family come forth in full force. I saw a side of my mother in law that I not only appreciate, but I esteem.
I am so grateful that God gave my family and me this experience. I think it was fruitful (no garden/food puns intended!) and life changing for all of us.