Matt Meador: Reflections on a mother lost, a mother gained and a family of amazing women

##Carolyn Manion Meador with son Matt at the San Diego Zoo, circa 1970.
##Carolyn Manion Meador with son Matt at the San Diego Zoo, circa 1970.
##A portrait of the author’s mother, Carolyn Manion Meador, circa 1964.
##A portrait of the author’s mother, Carolyn Manion Meador, circa 1964.

A little over 22 years ago, my soon-to-be brother-in-law told me I was about to become a member of a very exclusive club. The club was shortly accepting its third and final member, as I married the last of the three Nielsen girls.

I was one of those eldest children blessed with creativity in spades, but bereft of time-management skills and deficient in common sense. When I married Christy Nielsen, I got a wife who was blessed not only with remarkable creativity, but also the good-sense decisionmaking abilities that most eldest kids get — the stuff I missed.

I also got a wife who was stylish, funny, beautiful, loving and a mother who made sure our daughters turned into adults of whom I am fiercely and unashamedly proud. I love my wife and my girls!

As part of my membership in the club, I got a mother-in-law who is the most gracious and thoughtful hostess — one who pays attention to the smallest details. She diligently focuses her gift on keeping a spotless house and cooking up a menu that helped me double my body weight during my first 10 years in McMinnville.

Gayle has become a mother to me. I love her dearly, even if we do sometimes debate politics.

I lost my own mother far too soon. She never got a chance to be the incredible grandmother she could’ve been.

My mother had a giant personality that was universally loved. She was exceptionally beautiful and graceful.

She had a biting wit inherited from her father, a wit she took pains to temper. When she laughed, which she did often, she laughed with abandon.

When my brother and I were teenagers, we were secretly proud when our friends would occasionally remark that our mother was beautiful. We were proud our mom could do that.

But we loved her for her spirit and her unquestioned focus on her husband, on her children and on God. I can hear her laughter even now. I miss her every day and I wish my girls had known her.

On Mother’s Day, I am grateful to belong to the exclusive club of those who married the Nielsen girls. I give thanks for my wife, my two daughters and my mother-in-law — the one who, in so many ways, took my mother’s place.

I wouldn’t trade my family for the world.

Oh, and in an effort to make sure I can enjoy my membership in the club for the maximum time, I have now shed the vast bulk of that extra weight because, you know, I’d like to stick around with my family for awhile yet.


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