Andrew and I often reflect on the home buying process. We didn’t look much at the neighborhood or what the view was from inside the house. We looked at the size of the windows and the shape of the bathroom and the floors. We looked at the look of the house but did not sit on the porch to see if it fit. We did not take our shoes off in the bedroom. We did not stand and look at the kitchen sink and look out the window. We didn’t even think of it.
When I dreamed about my future life, my husband and children and family, I did not think for a second about my in-laws. Don’t ask me why. Did I think I would marry a totally parent-less person?
That’s like dreaming about vacation but not thinking at all about the place you’ll stay.
I met Andrew’s parents several times during the eight years we knew each other but did not date. I’m sure they don’t remember those meetings but I remember each one – their bright spirits the obvious birth place of my lovely Andrew’s own inner light.
I am constantly surprised by this unexpected blessing of a delightful set of in-laws. I’m shocked when we visit and I come down the stairs, groggy from sleep, and find a cup of hot coffee fetched by my father-in-law and made exactly as I like it. I find myself tearing up with him as everyone says their goodbyes.
I’m always stunned by my sister-in-law’s heart of generosity. At one point she brought me upstairs in her house to show me some pregnancy clothes and we laughed over a pair of corduroy overalls with Winnie the Pooh embroidered awkwardly on them. Her guest bedroom had become a staging ground for her church nursery. She found my sister a play pen and cleaned it and brought it to them though she hardly knew her.
I’m always pleased to see my brother-in-law Nat as he selflessly asks question after question to make everyone feel welcome and loved. It’s incredible how positive he can be.
I find it so strange how close I feel to my brother-in-law Steve and sister-in-law Erin who live 12 hours away. Their love for my daughter is so strong I can feel it over the stark distance between us.
My mother-in-law is so good with Clare. Clare trusts her and loves her. I can see it. Her whole being is relaxed and calm when she is near her. She speaks her language.
And dear Pop-pop. He makes me a card. HE MAKES ME A CARD every birthday or holiday or anniversary. We crack jokes at family gatherings and this last meeting he and I sat next to each other and Clare, who was sitting on my lap, leapt over onto his. He had been timid about holding a wiggly baby but she didn’t care. They bonded easily together.
Our lives are sort of like a house. We have this picture in our head of what we want. A lot of beautiful things come with the house – some things you expect and some things you don’t. My in-laws have been like the sweet lilies you realize are planted all along you garden.
Years after being welcomed into their family I can’t believe that I didn’t even think about my husband’s family when I met and married him. What a wonderful surprise to like your family – to be filling up your life house with more and more surprise blessings.