Today my mother-in-law, Eivor — whom I adore unequivocally — turns 70. It’s an especially big deal in Sweden to fylla jämnt, an expression that doesn’t translate at all well to English. It means to “achieve an even number,” more or less, and it refers to the “big” birthdays such as 30, 40, 50, and so on. I’m not home today and I wasn’t able to wish her a happy birthday in person, so I thought I’d write a little something here.
It would be impossible to overstate how much my mother-in-law has meant to my happiness here in Sweden. Living down the street from her is the next best thing to having my own mother so near, and it’s a big factor in making the separation from my mom bearable. She is so wonderful, in fact, that my mom has said on more than one occasion that it’s because of Eivor that she can handle me and my kids living so far away from her.
While Olof’s family is very warm and affectionate, they’re not ones for making big declarations of love, and I know that Eivor will never let on that she’s read this. I also know, however, that she will read this, so this is my chance to say how much I love her and appreciate everything she has meant to me and my family. There aren’t enough words to do my feelings justice, so I’ll just leave off by saying, Stort grattis på födelsedagen! Jag är tacksam varje dag för att du finns i mitt liv.