To Ronnie: because there are no step-mothers-in-law day cards at the store

Tell a good father-in-law joke and I’ll have a laugh with you. To his credit, so would Frank, the guy who would be at the butt of that kind of joke if told from my perspective. For some reason, those types of jokes are always about the female version of the in-law species. Until recently, I’ve never had a mother-in-law. I could only relate to them as far as I was able to live vicariously through Debra Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond, who has an infamous mother-in-law who lives across the street: Marie Barone.

Vanda’s mom passed away six months before our wedding in 1997. Sadly, since Vanda’s family is from England, I had little time to get to know Ann. From what I remember, she would have given me no material for mother-in-law jokes. Her blessing on our marriage before succumbing to cancer will always be precious to me.

In the summer of 2010, Frank married Veronica (“Ronnie”) Demeraski. And still, mother-in-law jokes elude me. Ronnie had always been single, so marriage is still pretty new. It must have been difficult to not only get used to sharing your life with someone, but to also inherit his whole family as well; some in England and some in the U.S.  She has pitched in on several occasions for us when a grandma was in need. As a single missionary, Ronnie lived in India and ran a children’s home for The Salvation Army that Vanda and I supported for many years. So, a passion for caring for children comes naturally. She even does a great deal to care for her own mother, who happens to be 102 years old.

Ronnie and Frank at our home near Philadelphia a few years ago.

Becoming a wife, step-mom, step-mother-in-law and grandma all in the same day is an enormous task – but Ronnie has taken on the challenge with all the grace and sensitivity it required. A google search informs me that there is an unofficial mother-in-law’s day on the fourth Sunday of October that was instituted in 2003 (by greetings card companies, I believe). My guess is that they put is so far away from Mother’s Day as to not detract from its significance (or possibly to squeeze more dollars out of us another time of the year).

Ronnie, since there is no step-mother-in-law day, I get to choose which one to categorize you with. I choose Mother’s Day. Thanks for being such a great step-mother-in-law.

And I’ll save the in-law jokes for Frank (who could be a stunt double for Jerry Springer, though his similarity ends with looks).

Happy Mother’s Day, Ronnie Spence!

How about you? Any other great mothers-in-law you want to comment about this week before Mothers’ Day?


4 thoughts on “To Ronnie: because there are no step-mothers-in-law day cards at the store

  1. Dave, that is a wonderful tribute to both of the women that I have been blessed to be married to, I give thanks every day for both of them, for my beautiful daughters, both of whom are amazing mothers, my five wonderful grandchildren and two outstanding sons in law. If ever a man was blessed I am that man.
    By the way if you ever need a good mother in law joke I am sure I can come with one or two but if you attribute them to me, well then I would have to kill you!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to Ronnie, and what a great family you are a part of. I also have been blessed with the most wonderful mother-in-law. She loves me like a daughter, and has made me feel like a part of my husband’s family from the beginning. And I never have a single moment of “Ugh, the in-laws are coming” when they plan a visit. Her name is Kay Main and she is a wonderful, godly woman.

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