Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In-laws or Outlaws

Tears filled his eyes. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. Now he was fading laying in the bed next the window. A father and daughter reunited for a final time.

I called them family. It didn’t start that way but ended with my heart wrapped around these two people. Oh, we had our ups and downs these people who came along with my new husband. They were not my parents. They were his.

It’s a difficult thing this blending of families. My in-laws were nothing like my family. I really wasn’t even sure I wanted them as family, but I loved their son and was determined to make them my own. Over the years we had our battles. Some were painful yet in looking back, I think they were times of building a relationship that would remain and embrace our children.

When my daughter married, I found that having a son-in-law was equally awkward. This relationship between two families viewed from the other side, that of the mother-in-law. I wanted a relationship with this wonderful young man similar to that which had grown with my in-laws. I wanted to hear him call me ‘Mom’. I wanted to have that connection that I had worked so hard to have with Miles and Anna. When my son married. I knew right off the bat that I would not be ‘Mom’. She had a Mom, and I was a mother-in-law. I would never gain that title. Each relationship is different. Ours will be different. That’s okay.

The bond I formed with my in-laws was important to me. I wanted us to be a family. I wanted my children to understand how much we loved one another. I walked through the fire to forge that relationship. I have no regrets. I learned to be humble. I learned to bite my tongue. I learned to negotiate. I learned to accept differences. I learned tolerance. I learned to love two people who were strangers to me. I learned that divorce did not separate them from me. I learned to call them Mom and Dad and to love them with all my heart.

Dad’s eyes lit up when he saw me. He knew how hard I had tried all of those years. He knew that he got to see his grandchildren because I saw to it. He knew that I loved him with all my heart.

“Oh, I love you,” he said. Oh, I loved him back.

My tears reflected his. I held his hand and knew at that moment he was a father to me. He had loved me as a daughter. I said good-bye to Dad knowing that this was the last parent I would hold.

In-laws. In love. In struggle. In a lifetime. The other parents of my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment