I is for In-Laws

Marriages create In-Laws. Instant family expansion. The stories about in-laws could fill an endless amount of books. Mine is no exception.

I remember once talking to my brother-in-law about his mother (my mother-in-law) and his wife (my sister-in-law). His wife thought his mother was weird. I agreed, but so was his wife’s mother and more than likely my mother. Ok, me too.

That was when I realized we are creatures of the habits of our upbringing. As a child, you are comforted by the repetition of the way things go on in your home.  Family Game Night, Chore Sessions, Holiday Prep, even the horrors of discipline. Every family does it a little differently. So as an adult when you become part of another family, things are….well just a little weird.

His family puts oysters in their stuffing at Thanksgiving. I think that’s weird. Americans have been doing it for centuries, but it was the first time I’d ever heard of it, let alone tasted it. Let’s just say, it is one of his family’s traditions that did not become one of ours.

Then there’s the in-laws acquired by your siblings. These are the fun ones. The people who become your children’s aunts and uncles. The ones you hang out with at family gatherings. The ones you get close to and then BAM! DIVORCE! Yours, theirs, it doesn’t really matter. Divorce changes the dynamic, again. Sides are chosen and the life you were living becomes, well weird again. Traditions that involved in-laws no long related to you become stressful. The cousin who brought that heavenly desert bows out at the last-minute but their mother shows with that awful marshmallow salad.

Like parents, you don’t get to actually pick your in-laws. Your spouse is a choice.  Choose wisely. You children will inherit their weirdness and might love oyster stuffing.



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