Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is...


Mary is my sister-in-law. You've met her. Remember when she made my brother's face look like it might explode from joy, HERE.

You can see why...

My sister-in-law Mary is an incredibly sweet person. She is warm and gracious. Mary has been a wonderful, calming influence on my brother. My brother, like me, has a tendency to carry all of his emotions way up on the surface. This can be tricky in the everyday world. Mary helps keep Bubs steady and calm. She listens and offers solid, clear advice.

Mary comes from a big, close family. They see each other all of the time. Mary's mom and dad live within walking distance of her. Mary is the youngest, and the only girl. Her license plate says,"Lil Mar". Many people who are the youngest, or the only girl in their family, tend to be spoiled. Spoiled is not a word that I would use to describe Mary. Strong, loving, thoughtful, organized, sweet, patient, beautiful, artistic, athletic, these are the words I would choose instead.

Mary's family owns a bunch of restaurants in and around Chicago. She worked very hard in the family business until she had her girls. Have you ever known any "restaurant" families? They are FUN! They are night owls. Unfortunately for me, when Mary and her relatives are finished working and are ready to socialize, I have already been asleep for at least three hours. My geriatric bedtime has caused me to miss out on some great stories I am sure. I can't keep up with these people.

Mary is an artist. One of the most beautiful gifts that we received for our wedding was this...

Mary took one of our invitations (made by Steven), matted it , and hand painted these flowers around the border. Isn't it pretty ? Mary then had it framed, or maybe she even framed it herself, I can't remember. She also hand paints furniture.

Mary is also a powerhouse physically. She runs marathons. I went to the gym with her once. My jaw dropped to the floor as I saw her effortlessly pick up a barbell clearly designed for a large, sweaty, body-builder type man. The woman can lift! I quickly hid in the corner, my flabby, weak arms lugging my two pound weights.

Mary has a great quality that I wish I could emulate. You know when someone gets on your nerves and you start to complain about them? Mary is able to look at that person from a more forgiving, less judgmental angle. She'll say things like,"Well maybe that is the only way annoying person number one can deal with the situation." She helps you re frame your thinking in a kinder, more gentle way. You think, "She's right, annoying person number one is just struggling with tough challenges of his own." Mary teaches you the importance of giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

How funny, originally I thought this whole feature was going to be about how great a mom Mary is. She is a fantastic mom. The fact that I am just getting to it now, reminds me just how much more there is to her than being an excellent mom.

Mary is a very nurturing and thoughtful mother. When Betsy was born five years ago, things were quite difficult. Betsy cried CONSTANTLY. She was later diagnosed with acid reflux. This, as you can imagine, caused many sleepless nights for Mary and Bubs. Abby was born right after Betsy, 'Irish Twins'. Mary is a very patient and organized mom. Her mothering and home making look seamless. Things flow very smoothly in her house, and everything always looks fabulous. She has excellent taste and her house is always immaculate.

Betsy and Abby have both gone through the same phase recently. This phase increases Mary's work around the house even more. First Betsy decided the only outfit she felt comfortable wearing was her long sleeved black t-shirt with pumpkins on the front, and a prairie type skirt. This is what she wanted to wear everyday. Every night, Mary would launder this Halloween outfit. Every morning, Betsy would happily put it on, and begin her day. When Abby recently decided that the only two outfits she would wear were a long sleeve black velvet gown, or a long sleeved red velvet gown, Mary didn't even bat an eyelash, she just casually added these items to the evening's wash.

Mary has had to navigate a lot with two toddlers. She has dealt with sibling rivalry, sharing, quarter swallowing, and potty training. It has been a lot of work. Her girls are strong and independent. They are popular, and extremely different in temperament. Bets has a tendency toward melancholy, whereas Abs is a more half-full kind of girl. They are adorable.

They are also activists. (Notice Betsy's outfit in the' bubble picture' in that old link).

Mary has the bluest eyes that I have ever seen. Crayola had to introduce a new color in her honor. (Well, they haven't yet, but they should).

Mary and I love the same music. I recently tried to make Mary an I-Tunes playlist for her birthday. I thought I had discovered some great new songs that she might like. When I clicked the 'send to' button, my computer informed me that had already purchased 12 of the 15 songs.

How will my adoption impact Mary?

My kids will learn some important things from Mary. They will learn how to see something good in everyone. They will see how to give others the benefit of the doubt. They will see that, above all, it is family that matters most. They will see what patience is, and what kindness means. They will see in Mary's blue eyes, the soul of someone whose sweetness is genuine and contagious. They will learn that it is fun to sing out loud, and stay up late! They will learn about hard work, and setting goals.

They might even inherit a really cool pumpkin shirt, or a lovely red velvet dress from their beautiful cousins, and their wonderful Aunt Mary.

I can't wait.

I love you Mary!


  1. Your tributes are always so genuine and fantastic...


  2. Your post makes me that much more excited to go and see her today!

  3. with all these loved ones near chicago, I propose a summer visit!

  4. What a great post. Mary sounds like a wonderful sister and mom! :)

  5. Beautiful! A tribute to you both. And I agree with what you said about Mary!!

    Alice Farrell

  6. Beautiful! A tribute to you both! And I agree with what you said about Mary. LUCKY BUBS!!