Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mother In Law Camp: Part Deux-Scottish Revelations

Please refer to the link for Part One of Mother In Law camp.


Disclaimer 2: I still love my mother-in-law.

My husband and his family are of Scottish descent. They are proud of their Scotch heritage and often rely on it for supporting their tempers, fierce love of family and imbibing of 'adult beverages'.

I, on the other hand, am Italian, German and tad Welsh. Ain't a whiff of scotch about me, except for that one time on a business trip. I support their pride (who doesn't love plaid?) I supported them right through a flood.

Ligonier PA hosts the Scottish Highland Games every year on the weekend after Labor Day. It's usually blazingly hot. Picture big men in skirts throwing telephone poles while people cheer from their lawn chairs raising frosty glasses o' Guinness.

We couldn't wait to go. We couldn't wait to show off our firey haired babies and join the madness.

True to their Scottish lineage, when the weather showed for rain, MIL and my husband were game to go. "The kids will love it!" they exclaimed. "It will be magical." I bought it, hook-line and sinker.

When it started to sprinkle, I was okay. It could have been the Guinness, who knows. When the deluge opened up, I wasn't so okay. It was so wet, I could wring out my shorts. My five year old took refuge under an awning. The baby? He was in his glory, holding his little feeties into the rain, giggling the whole time. His face crinkled when dripped on, mouth wide to drink the deluge.

We stayed as long as we could. Our exit card came when the five year old began to turn blue and screamed, "I hate the Scots! I wanna GO HOME NOW!" This while we were standing under some trees in a vain attempt at shelter. Our shelter mates? Scots. We weren't so popular.

What made it magical and bearable and not another painful MIL event was her. She had a smile as wide as her face at the children. She couldn't wait for them to see, hear, taste and smell everything. She showed the oldest the Scottish breeds of dogs and explained what colors were in our family tartan. She told me I was 'close enough' to the clan by just having Welsh in my blood (no offense to any true Scotswomen).

Her joy was infectious. We began planning next year's event already. She complimented my wardrobe (a first) and even complimented my mothering to some friends she met unexpectedly.

I watched as the cold rain soaked her through. I knew she must be shivering. Since her transplant six years ago she has always had a challenge keeping her body temperature under control. Yet she still kept the umbrella over the baby and ignored the river flowing down her back. As we slogged through the mud and muck and rain back to the cars, she stopped to make me listen to the plaintive sounds of the bag pipers getting ready to compete. "Isn't it magical?" she whispered.

And it was. Because of her. That's the dichotomy of mothering. Challenges and magic all at the same time.

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