Day 244: Merry

6 Dec

Merry is the name of a woman I met a long time ago. She was a friend of a friend and we met at a dinner party. Somehow I started to tell her about my nephew and Merry listened to my problem and then she asked questions about what was going on with him and eventually offered a few suggestions to me. It stayed with me that Merry had a way with people.

I don’t recall if it was that same night, or some time after, that I found out a story about Merry. This is what I remember about it… Merry was working as a social worker and one of her clients was a single mother and she was dying… but she also had 4 kids. Merry drove to the lady’s house one day and saw those kids and knew the only way to help them was to take them home. And – I love this part – she called her husband and told him that she was bringing this children home… and her husband did not argue.

Merry and her husband have their own “biological” children… but they have also been parents to dozens of other kids. Did you see that word back there? Dozens!!! I ask you, who can do that? Not your average individuals… but these folks have made it look easy. I am not a close friend but I am a friend in awe of them for what they have done.

Here is my favorite story about Merry. Years ago, my son was in middle school and he came to me with a request for something that I could not say yes to. I struggled with how to answer him and suddenly Merry popped into my head. I called her immediately and she gave me this suggestion. Each time my son asked his question, I was to answer, “Thank you for asking me so nicely. My answer is no, but you may ask me again.” And when he asked again, I was to say the same thing again. It was brilliant because I was not giving reasons for why he could not do (whatever it was). And it worked like a charm. My son asked me “the question” and I gave him Merry’s response. He looked confused, and asked again. And again, I gave him Merry’s response. After the third time, he gave up. He was exasperated but could not fight with me because I had not given him anything to contest. I guess after raising a few dozen kids you learn tricks like this!

I saw Merry today and mentioned that I had been thinking about her recently. I’d been thinking that she was a perfect pie recipient because she had given me a great tool during a challenging parenting moment. Tonight I brought her a warm Apple Pie to thank her for her amazing spirit and for her ability to share her love with so many children… I am sure that she has been a gift to them all.

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