Today is MoMo's birthday.
MoMo. We haven't seen her since August, though she is here in the hearts of three little boys. Since we parted, she has said goodbye to much. She left her old way of life behind last summer and headed to Little Rock, to join her daughter and son-in-law in their fight for their baby's life. While she has been away, her dear mother/housemate has gone to be with the L0RD. The family home has stood empty ever since, eerily quiet on an Arkansas hill. She sleeps in a borrowed bed in a borrowed house now. She comes and goes from a children's hospital each day, and a preschool, and the grocery store. She cooks pots of beans and plays with a four-year-old and holds a baby girl attached to lifesaving machines.
I remember when she read novels in her chair in the upstairs bedroom. Westerns, that's what she liked. She clipped recipes from the paper. She watered her flowers. She swam in her pool. She mowed the grass that grew along the dirt road. That grass, I never could understand it's determination. It simply defied the relentless Arkansas sun, its roots grabbing onto the rocks and parched dirt for dear life. MoMo used to walk each night, up and down that dirt road, with two well-fed dogs on her heels. She waited until just before dark, when the heat had been beaten back by the turning of the Earth, then headed off down the road with a hose-soaked head to keep cool. Both of those dogs are dead now. Their feed box sits empty, save for a few spiders who have found a nice place out of the sun.
She called yesterday to tell us how excited she was about Jubilee. She cried. We laughed. She had to go because she had arrived at the hospital. I hung up the phone filled with a single emotion: admiration.
Have a hapy, hapy brthday, MoMo. The world does not dole out better mother-in-laws than Shari Rupp.