Judy’s Smile: An Ode to My Sweet Mother-in-Law

She was always smiling.

That was the first thing that struck me about my mother-in-law. Her smile. Sincere, loving, genuine. I’m sure she wasn’t always smiling, but that’s how I always see her in my mind. Smiling sweetly, blue eyes twinkling, her child-like features perfectly reflecting the purity of her spirit.

I’ve always felt blessed that I couldn’t relate to mother-in-law horror stories. Judy welcomed me into her family with open arms—she never judged, never criticized, never made me feel unworthy of her son. I don’t know if she held it back or if it just wasn’t in her, but I never felt anything but love and acceptance from her.

And that’s how she approached everyone. She’s one of those people no one could say anything bad about. Simple and sweet, like a bouquet of daisies. So very gentle. So very kind.

People have a tendency to idolize or idealize people when they pass away, but that’s not the case here. These are things I’ve always thought about Judy. She was goodness personified. A steadfast, radiant soul cloaked in a calm, unassuming presence.

I’ve always thought mothers-in-law deserve more credit than they get (after all, they did raise whoever it is you decided to marry). But I also know that mothers can be possessive of their sons, or believe that no woman could ever be good enough for him. I have a beloved baby boy of my own, so I get it.

But I never had to deal with any judgment or negativity. I seriously won the mother-in-law lottery. Hit the mother-in-law jackpot. I couldn’t have asked for a better one, and feel incredibly blessed that there was never anything but mutual love and admiration between us.

The downside of that is that I will miss her tremendously. I’ll miss the way she got giddy for chocolate, the same way I do. I’ll miss the way she could miraculously clean her entire kitchen in three minutes flat. I’ll miss the way she called each of our kids on their birthdays. I’ll miss her stories of growing up on a farm with her six siblings. I’ll miss her clear voice singing songs of praise.

And I’ll miss her sweet, constant smile.

Goodbye, Judy. And thank you. Until we meet again.

Judy Reneau
March 16, 1950 – May 6, 2014

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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