To Olga, on her birthday

The thing is, Olga is fabulous. And well, as fabulous people do, she has everything. While she loves all that fun girly stuff, there really is nothing she needs.

If I was a millionaire, I'd fly myself, Mike, my girls, my beautiful sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their kids, to Texas and be there in time for a family breakfast. We would stay the day and share an Appletini while teasing our husbands, for their adorable Adkins-male traits, while my girls danced and sang, "Grammy, Grammy." Then Olga would laugh, her sweet laugh--the kind of laugh that one can only describe as tickled--and then there would be something amazing--like glitter nail polish or a fort or a "chuck-chuck," because Olga was born to be Grammy to my girls.

Olga was also born to be a lot of things--like my mother in law and my best girlfriend.

The day Lily was born, Olga booked tickets and flew to New Jersey. She fed us. She sat by my side while Lily was on a ventilator. She learned how to breast feed a preemie, right along with me. Olga made us laugh when things were not so funny. And she listened. She lived with us for over a month. Dropping her own life for ours. She made me lay down when I did not want to. She hugged her son when he was crying because his daughter wasn't yet 3 pounds. She did it all again for Chloe--jumped right in, as an experienced NICU vet. This time, taking care of Lily too.

The day Lily was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I called Olga, because there was not no else who could make it all okay. She arrived, with Bob, within a day. And she did not leave, not until the day Lily was being discharged. One month in New Jersey. One month all alone, in our home, while we lived at the PICU. She did our laundry and cleaned my closet. She made us meals. All the while, it was her granddaughter fighting for her life.

She was our rock and our hostess through 7 weeks living in Texas for Lily's proton radiation. She did our laundry, cooked us meals, made us drinks. She made a visit for radiation seem like a vacation. I've learned where ever Olga is, well, that is a refuge. She is a safety net. A pillar.

And then there is the day-to-day stuff. Olga always answers the phone. She listens to every problem, every drama, every frustration without a word of judgment. She laughs with us, even when she is in pain.

Olga can take a piece of steak and an apple and suddenly, you have a feast worthy of a 5-star restaurant. Olga is the original Fancy Nancy-someone who takes plain and makes it magical.

When we go to Texas, I cannot wait to hang out with her.  When I feel totally off-kilter, Olga is who I want. She is my bestie, with a word of encouragement at all turns.  I trust her completely.

She is proud of me like I am her daughter--making me so duly blessed, because a mother's pride is unmatched. She loves her sons--Mike and Jon--to the moon and back. The evidence--how deeply my husband loves me and his girls. Olga is the mother-in-law all my girlfriend's dream of, but she is all mine.

So, Happy Birthday dear Olga. The world is beautiful with you in it. Your light shines through it all.  And we all adore you. Wishing you at least 100 more. xoxo