(This post was written by Chuck Carringer, Pastor of Family Ministries)
I have been so blessed to have great in-laws (that got your attention.) Emily’s parents, Doug & Bobbie Frazier, have been like a second set of parents to me for the past 23 years. In June of 2009, after a lengthy illness, Bobbie went home to be with the Lord. I miss Bobbie, whom our kids called Mamaw, especially around the holidays. However, it is so neat to hear how many times someone in our family will say something like “Mamaw would love that.” I learned a lot from Bobbie. The following are a few of those lessons:
1. Show people you love them. Bobbie had the gift of generosity. She was a giver. One of the things she most loved to give were hugs. Well, I grew up in a family dominated by boys (Dad, Mom, two younger brothers) which my Mom believes will likely be rewarded in heaven. My parents were, and still are awesome, but hugging was not a common part of daily life. When Emily and I started dating and I would be at their house, I could hardly move before Bobbie would give me a hug. I have joked that if I got up to go to the bathroom Bobbie would give me a hug. While it wasn’t to that extreme, I learned the power of a hug. What a way to show love. While I am still just a novice hugger, I am making progress.
2. Make family events special. Bobbie loved family get-togethers. She especially loved to host them. Emily has a large extended family so birthdays, holidays (Christmas was massive), Thursdays (I am just kidding but Bobbie would have liked that), were a big deal. Tons of food (Bobbie was a great cook, I am a great eater. We made a great pair.) which everyone knew would be wonderful. Bobbie never missed an opportunity to get the family, immediate or extended, together and she would usually comment about the importance of family. Bobbie taught us well. Our family loves our time together and is intentional about making it special.
3. Demonstrate unconditional love to your family. Bobbie was emotional. She usually had an opinion which she would often share. If she had a concern about a decision or direction she would share her concern (I am so grateful that she did.) One of the reasons that Bobbie knew her concern, thought or opinion, would generally be well received, was that she had established a relational foundation of unconditional love. Bobbie loved me with all her heart and I knew it. Husbands, how cool is it to know that your wife’s Mom loves you unconditionally? I want Emily, my children and someday their spouses to know that I love them unconditionally.
4. If you want to be involved in your adult children’s and grandchildren’s lives don’t wait for them to come to you. Bobbie so loved family that she very intentionally got involved in areas of our life where she could be a part without being overbearing. For example, when I coached, she and Doug would attend my games. Bobbie knew that Emily and the kids would be there and that she could hold the baby while Emily helped the officials. Bobbie would regularly bring me & my assistants a homemade post-game meal which was delicious in victory and comforting in defeat. Bobbie understood that if she waited for us to come to her she would miss a lot of great family experiences. When it fit, she would go where we were.
I miss Bobbie, but her legacy of faith and family lives on.
What valuable family lessons have you learned recently?