This week’s Spin Cycle Topic was to repost one of your old faves. I chose to share my first ever Spin Cycle entry, the topic was: Impressions.
I never got a chance to meet my mother-in-law. My kids will never get to know their Grandma. She died suddenly in April of 1999, four years before I fell in love with her son. Jamie was twenty-six at the time, he was living here in FL and his mom was back home in PA. They were very close and I know it really shattered Jamie to lose his mom.

When we first started dating, I used to ask Jamie all sorts of questions about his mother. What made her laugh? What music did she like, what did they have in common? Do you remember what her voice sounded like? Up until that point, I had never known anyone who had lost a parent. I secretly wondered if she would have liked me and approved of me for her son. I’ll never know the answer to that question, but since Jamie and I make each other completely happy, I’m hoping yes. Jamie was patient with me and answered all of my questions, but he’s a guy…. his details were lacking. If you don’t know what I mean, watch any guy you know have a thirty minute phone conversation and then ask them what they talked about. “I dunno, just stuff.” There are never enough details to satisfy.

On our wedding day, I longed for Jamie’s mom to be there. It hurt me that it hurt him not having her there on one of the happiest days of his life. When we had our children, it was even harder. Here are these two incredible beings that we brought into the world and Jamie will never get to share that joy with his mom. I often think about ways to keep her memory alive for our kids. I put up her picture in their rooms. I show Graham pictures of his Grandma and tell him who she is. When the kids are older, we’ll make sure we tell them all about her.

Jamie is such an awesome person, he loves us with everything he has. We share inside jokes and make each other laugh. He puts me down for a nap with the kids when he thinks I look worn out. He cooks and cleans and does at least fifty percent of the parenting, something a lot of guys don’t. He grocery shops, he dances with Graham, he’s super silly and fun and smart and everything I could ever ask for. He encouraged me to start this blog and gets just as excited as I do when a stranger comments for the first time. It pisses me off that someone so great has to go through life without his mom and that his wife and kids will never get to know her.

I’ve recently come to realize that I do know her though. I know her through Jamie and his actions. I see what an amazing father and awesome person he is and know that it’s all because of her. I know that she used to watch Star Trek with Jamie and she listened to Alanis Morisette. I know that she loved her kids so much and that she single-handedly produced the most awesome human being I’ve ever known. So, although I never got to meet her, the woman has left quite an impression on me. For that, I am eternally grateful.



  1. Keely

    Awwwww! What a great post.

    I could lend you my MIL, if you like.

    No, really. Take her.

  2. robin

    Such a great post. You really do know her, in many ways. (And Jamie sounds like a total keeper!)

  3. Laufa


  4. Sprite's Keeper

    I remember this Spin well. I remember reading it and then sending it to John and saying, “Look! Casey’s husband goes grocery shopping!See? Other men DO shop!”
    Your MIL would love you for making her son happy. And I heart him for making YOU happy.
    You’re linked!

  5. ck

    That was beautiful. My mother-in-law died when my husband was a child, so I’ve thought of her at all of the same moments.

    His mom had an identical twin, though. So it’s been neat for the girls to get to know her and to take photos of her with them. They don’t understand the connection now, but someday they will.

  6. Kyooty

    aw She sounds like a great woman and mom! She’s the mom that taught her son to love you because he’s doing dishes!
    what a great post

  7. Cat

    I can relate! Gray’s dad died unexpectedly when he was 15, and it’s completely changed his entire life. I wonder the same things about his dad and I wish I could meet the man whom everyone remembers with such pride and affection, whom Gray so closely resembles.

    Great post!

  8. Michele

    Great post. I knew my MIL and loved her for producing such a great guy for me.

    On a different note: Guys have 30 minute phone conversations? JR never ever spends that much time on the phone if he can help it.

  9. Lin

    Wow. What a nice tribute to Jamie as well as his mom! He sounds like a dream. My Joe is a lot like him–and I definitely appreciate how good these men are.

    You know, I was thinking that maybe it’s kind of nice that you don’t know her. You don’t see the bad side, the annoying things, or the negative comments. The in-law relationship is difficult, unless you have some saint (or two saints) in those positions. It is a rare day when you hear such lovely things about either party in a conversation. Even just one sideways glance can put a chink in their armor. So, you see, she is and always will be an angel in your eyes and that is nice.

    So, if there is a positive in all of this–it is that. She will always be perfect in your mind. 🙂

  10. Ginny Marie

    I like how you put pictures in your kids’ room. Ed’s mom died in February, and we talk about the good memories we have of her, so that they get a chance to know what kind of a person she was. She was very sick for so many years that they never knew a healthy grandma, which was very difficult for Ed. Great post for a “rerun”.

  11. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    Awwwww! What an awesome tribute to both Jamie and your MIL! I often wonder the same about my MIL – she died of cancer when my hubby was 18.

    Sounds like Jamie’s mom was a wonderful woman and did an awesome job raising him – he’s definitely a keeper, and you two are awesome together and doing such a great job with your kids, too! 🙂

  12. jenni

    great post, casey. i hope i can be that kind of mom.

  13. Jessica Bern

    sounds like a great guy. You’re are very lucky. His mom clearly did a great job

  14. Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

    This is a great post. I’m glad you brought it back for a second go around because I had never read it.

    I love how you said you have gotten to know her through her son….so poignant and touching. Truly. I wish I could say more but it is so late, I’m so tired and my brain has shut down from the “typing” perspective. the reading and the liking? no problem. The responding….in the toilet.

  15. Captain Dumbass

    That was really sweet. I could lend you my MIL. You won’t understand each other, but she’ll cook for you until you beg her to stop. And then she’ll keep going.

  16. Zip n Tizzy

    I totally get this because both my husbands mom and stepmother passed away before I met them, but I’ve always felt like I’ve known them through watching his actions and hearing their family stories.

  17. Amber

    I’ve got more mothers-in-law than I know what to do with! My husband’s mom, step mom, and I still consider my ex’s mom my mother-in-law. They’re all great, though.

    You and Jamie are so lucky to have each other. I hope you never take that for granted.

    Such a great post!

  18. GiGi @ Incrementum

    Beautiful post.

  19. The Stiletto Mom

    That was a GREAT post. I’m sorta sniffly after reading it….

  20. ymK

    Your Jamie sounds like a great guy, and yes you get to meet his mom through him. She must have been a wonderful woman to have raised a nice person. And I’m sure she would have liked you for making her son happy.

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