An exclusive club

Reflections on the blessings of Mothers’ Day

A little over 21 years ago, my soon-to-be brother-in-law told me I was about to become a member of a very exclusive club. The club was shortly accepting its third and final member, as I married the last of the three Nielsen girls.

I was one of those eldest children who was blessed with creativity in spades but given no time management skills and dubious common sense. When I married Christy Nielsen, I got a wife who was blessed not only with remarkable creativity, but also the careful decision-making abilities that most eldest kids get — all the stuff I missed. I also got a wife who was stylish, funny, beautiful, loving and a mother who made sure our daughters turned into the adults of whom I am fiercely and unashamedly proud. I love my wife and my girls!

As part of my membership in the club, I got a mother-in-law who is the most gracious and thoughtful hostess, who pays attention to the smallest details. She diligently focuses her gift on keeping a spotless house and cooking up a menu that helped me double my body weight during my first 10 years in McMinnville. Gayle has become a mother to me and I love her dearly, even if we do sometimes debate politics.

I lost my own mother far too soon — she never got a chance to be the incredible grandmother she would’ve been. My mother had a giant personality that was universally loved. She was exceptionally beautiful and graceful but she had a biting wit she’d inherited from her father, a wit she took pains to temper. When she laughed, which she did often, she laughed with abandon. When my brother and I were teenagers, we were secretly proud when our friends would occasionally remark that our mother was beautiful — we were proud our mom could do that. But we loved her for her spirit and her unquestioned focus on her husband, on her children and on God. I can hear her laughter even now — I miss her every day and I wish my girls had known her.

On Mothers’ Day, I am grateful to belong to the exclusive club of those who married the Nielsen girls. I give thanks for my wife, my two daughters and my mother-in-law who, in so many ways, took my mother’s place. I wouldn’t trade my family for the world.

Oh, and in an effort to make sure I can enjoy my membership in the club for the maximum time, I have now shed the vast bulk of that extra weight because, you know, I’d like to stick around with my family for awhile yet.

Photocollage © 2022 Matthew Meador

2 Replies to “An exclusive club”

  1. That was a beautiful essay. Thanks. Also, congratulations for taking care of yourself. I am trying diligently to do that. It sure ain’t easy sometimes.

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