Well, the day has finally arrived. E’s mom, Tanya will be arriving from Russia in less than twelve hours! This will be her third visit to the states, and her first visit in five years. We hope that she will stay with us for a couple of months, at least. Yay! She will cook for us! Not that my mom hasn’t been breaking her back to cook, but with the two of them on duty, we won’t have to stomach another Stouffer Classic Lasgna meal for a long time. Actually, Stouffer isn’t half bad, Hormel meals are the worst. Bleagh!

All food fantasies aside, Fontessa is a caring, sensitive and generous woman. She was so kind to me when I first came to Moscow eleven years ago. A strange American woman marries her son after dating for seven months and she welcomes me with champagne and kisses. Treating me like the daughter she never had, she never once made me feel unwelcome. Fresh flowers greeted me every time I visited her dacha (country home) and she always fixed my favorite dishes. (More cooking references, hmmmm…) At family parties, with no one but my husband speaking English, she made sure I was included and even the center of attention. I was treated like a genuine queen.

A flower from Fontessa’s garden.

In the time that we have been apart, Fontessa (and the rest of our family) never forgets an anniversary, birthday, or special holiday. She constantly sends photographs of her lovely garden and plenty of nifty care packages. When Fontessa visits us, she is just as delightful. None of this bossy mother-in-law stuff–total respect for my way of doing things, but her spirit and attitudes always shine through. Do I love this woman? You bet! Her visits are a dream!

Okay. I’m calm now. Gooey relative rave is over.   J

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