Saturday, March 2, 2013


We got word this evening, “If you want to see Ma you better come quick.”

In the morning we head to the airport and catch an emergency flight to Minnesota. We pray we get there before she goes Home.

I know I should try and sleep, but I think I’d just toss and turn, so I figured I’d pray awhile and repost a tribute to my Mother-in-Law written about a year ago.

The following is an edited version of the original submission. Since the original post our sweet Grandma Mary has been placed in a nursing home and…well, we sure would appreciate your prayers. Thanks.


I climb a lot of ladders for my job. Kids must think it’s cool, because whenever they’re around, and I’m up on a roof, they point and stare.

I usually ask their names, and then say “Nice to meet you…What’s my name?”

They’ll giggle, “I don’t know.”

“My name’s Santa,” I tell them.

They giggle more—kind of nervous like, and before they can say anything, I say, “No, just kidding. I’m not Santa…BUT, I do work for him.”

“Huh?” Wide eyes get wider.

“Yeah, I check out the best places for the reindeer to land and stuff so Santa don’t get hurt.”

Those kids are on their best behavior for days.

Well, dear reader I’m sure you know I don’t really work for Santa, but…I think perhaps I’m related to him—through marriage.

You see, Mrs. Claus is my Mother-in-Law, or at least I think she is. Just look at her. Doesn’t she look like Santa’s wife?

At eighty-seven she has limited mobility. She can use a walker for short distances, but other than that – she’s either in a wheel chair or her recliner-type chair that elevates at the seat, to help her get up. Her hands are starting to show signs of arthritis and her eye sight is growing dim, yet, even though her body is aging, she’s still a wide-eyed-child in her soul.

With over a hundred and some ought grand-kids she’s managed to keep track of them all. All year she’d sit and knit and weave some kind of Christmas magic into hats and scarves and baby blankets. And somehow, at Christmas, without even leaving her chair, she’d manage to have a gift for everyone. She’s spent more time making gifts for others than many folks have been alive. She MUST be Mrs. Claus – or related in some kind-of-way, right?

She watches, too. With dimming eyes and one finger she pecks at a keyboard. Like a mother-hen she watches her brood banter on face-book.

Although confined physically, she’s a world traveler in her soul. Sit by her and listen. She’ll take you places decades from here with her stories. Her eyes will gleam like a school girl in love when she tells about the first time she met the man she would marry at Coney Island—Santa. No, actually–Henry Joseph DeVlaeminck; the man she still dreams of even though he’s been gone over three decades. She’ll walk you through the depression and wade through life on a pig farm. You’ll ride her words to school with horse and sleigh. She’ll tell of trials and laughter and raising fourteen children—the birth of some…the loss of others.

With a never fading smile, she’ll tell of how she saw Jesus in a dream, and how she travels the world with her prayers.

Her house was nothing fancy, but her Home is a mansion. Each day her house would fill with family, including ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-this and ex-that, once in—you’re IN. It’s easier to get out of the mob, than this family.

She’s soft spoken, just above a whisper, but she can move an army of adoring children with a simple word.

Maybe my mother-in-law isn’t really related to Santa. But—she is related to the Greatest Gift Giver of all. And, her family may not be like the mob—with the Godfather. But– she’s real close to God The Father.

And I am honored to share her with you today. Her kids call her Ma, but everyone else – related or not – calls her Gramma Mary. So, if you need a family, you can join ours.

Thanks for stopping by and as Ma would say; “Gramma misses you, come back and see me.”

If you think you don’t have a family…think again, you do.

Jesus asked; Who are My brothers and sisters and mother? And then answered; “But those who do the will of My Father.” Mark 3:35

Come…be part of the family.

1 comment:

caryjo said...

As usual, Doug, I loved it! And your "God The Father" made me laugh/grin/chuckle. What a blessing for you and yours.

Thanks so much, Doug. Hope your heart is drawn to a solidity during a heart-challenging time.

Bless you, Brother.