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Why I Love My In-laws

April 21, 2011

It’s probably cliche, but the huge piece of being a newlywed is getting along with the in-laws.  You have just been put into a new family situation with a second (or third or fourth, depending on the whole divorce situation) set of parents and you have new expectations to live up to.  You have had a number of years to get used to the first set of parents, but now you must be thrown into the blue to sink or swim.  Nothing like a deer in the headlights feeling, right?

In most cases, hopefully, it’s not to dramatic.  I have known my in-laws for about 12 years and have been a part of the family in one way or another for a little over nine.  In the beginning of dating, of course, it wasn’t quite the same; B and I were just casual friends who had crushes on each other and thought we would try out dating.  Our junior year of high school set the scene a little with B’s parents.  B and I ended up having the biggest fight we have ever had over whether or not he actually meant it when he said he loved me.  As 16-year-olds, our definitions of love were very different from each other and very different from what they are now.  We got through it and found some common ground, but I don’t think B’s mom saw me the same way after that.  I was ready to tell her son that I loved him; she was ready to kick me in the pants for pressuring her baby boy into something he wasn’t ready for.  The line was drawn.It wasn’t that bad, though.  In retrospect, I can completely understand where she was coming from.  Protective instincts and all that.  I get it.  I’m super protective of B too.  It happens when you love him.  When it became evident to all of us that our relationship was serious, there was another shift.  I felt like his parents were more critical of what I said and did.  It wasn’t mean, just more observant.  Any comment I would make about the future had a comeback comment about how it would be “our wedding soon enough.”  At that point, I wasn’t ready for those comments.  Yes, I loved B, but comments from parents about marriage are scary when you haven’t talked about marriage with your boyfriend (wow, that feels weird to type “boyfriend” when talking about B.  We haven’t been boyfriend and girlfriend in three years!).  When we did get engaged, there came a time when I was scared to tell B’s mom anything about the wedding because I felt like I had to second guess everything.  But now that we’re married?  It’s like a second pair of parents.What made me get over my nerves and insecurities?  Well, nothing.  Some of them are still there.  I still worry about what his parents think of me and whether or not they are happy to have me in their family.  I want nothing more than to think of them as an honest to goodness second pair of parents I could talk to about almost anything.

There are moments, though, that make me smile and feel all gooshy inside.  The other day, for example, we hosted my in-laws for a triple birthday dinner.  B’s mom’s birthday is April 18, B’s dad’s birthday is April 22, and mine is April 28.  With B’s mom working on Easter, we decided to celebrate the weekend before and throw everything together.  B and I made dinner (and I made one giant failure of an angel food cake), and as we all ate, B’s dad starting reminiscing about the first few days of our relationship.  He knew, deep down, that we weren’t “just friends,” that we were meant to be together and really liked each other.  We just didn’t know it yet.  Neither did B’s mom, who told B’s dad he was crazy.  A few days later, we were dating and I was officially kicked out of the second floor of their home.

Stories like that make me melt.  B’s dad makes me incredibly excited to have a child with B because he is just like his father.  They look so much alike, they are both patient, kind, even-tempered, loyal, loving, giving, somewhat awkward, and full of humor.  What else could you ask for?  These are qualities I have yet to see any H men not possess, brother-in-law K included.  Times like these are the times when I am so excited to be a part of B’s family because I know just how wonderful they are.  You learn to love the people around you, and sometimes, it’s not all that hard to do it.

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