So, my in laws recently arrived from halfway across the world and have been with us about a month now. They had not seen their me or their son (Hunky Hubby) for 6 years, and it was the first time seeing Pup (5 years) and Tiger (4 months). I must say I was a bit nervous not knowing what to expect. It has been a magnificent reunion and I have learnt certain lessons that I will carry with me for always.
1) Retain your innocence
My in laws are in their well into 70s, and I really am in awe of their ability to just “be”. They are truly honest in their interactions and they impart a certain aura of innocence. Nothing is ever said in malice and nothing is taken too seriously. Conversation is light, words are simple and the emphasis is always on what went right. It make me realise that somewhere along the way I had started taking life way to seriously and stopped enjoying it!
2) Marry for companionship
I watch them together as they sit in comfortable silence, pray together or help each other prep a meal, and love the ease they interact with. Obviously this has been perfected over the years, but it is evident they truly enjoy each others company. Even little annoyances are handled with good humour and a good measure of respect. Its more than love, they genuinely care for each other. I have learnt that we should keep talking to each other, not at each other and that marriage is a wonderful journey that keeps getting more exciting – if you nurture it. What amazing role models for marriage!
3) Kids will be kids
I’m actually talking about Hunky Hubby and I here….his mum and dad treat me with such love and tenderness that it literally brings me to tears. When I am tired or hungry or a combination of both they go into parent mode immediately and without a sound food is brought, and full attention is on me. Feels good to be a kid at the tender age of 35. I am lapping it up. I will always be sure to love Pup and Tiger the same way……never intrusive, never invasive, always supportive.
4) Silence doesn’t mean anyone is upset
I’m not sure why but I have always associated sudden silence with someone being upset. I have learnt that it probably just means they are busy doing something else or just having a quiet moment. It’s been amazing to not have to think about the emotions everyone else might be feeling, and walking on egg shells, and to be able to just get on with being me! I never have to ask if they are ok, because they never make me feel like they wouldn’t tell me if they were not!
5) Laugh loudly and freely
Why do we often lose the ability to truly laugh? The overly joyous moments become fewer and fewer replaced by the need to seem in contril. Since my in laws have come to visit I find myself laughing with reckless, wild abandon again….head in the air, belly aching kind of laughs. Their joy is infectious I guess! I’m a big kid laughing at funny noises Pup makes or at the weird sound that came from the blender, instead of the usual “what was that sound?”. I like this me!
6) Don’t sweat the little stuff
I found that I have stopped asking why, and I have lost the need to always be right. I’m not sure when it happened but when it did I felt lighter and kinder and happier. No more random bickering, no more questioning of everyting, no needing to know every detail. My in laws never ask too many questions or try to give advice. They accept that some things are a certain way (like my routine with the kids, the Sat as-much-TV-as-you-like rule, etc) and go about their merry way enjoying these moments as if they approve 500%. One of the most powerful lessons to date as been this one.
7) Do the things you love
My mum in law loves gardening and my father in law loves reading. He naps in the morning, she naps in the afternoon. She’s a adventurous eater, he isn’t. They do not try to adapt these preferences. They each do what they enjoy doing and embrace their differences with ease. They have never raised their voices to anyone or used a harsh word. Everything they do….they do with love.
8) Enjoy life!
At their age they have such gusto and passion for life. They truly enjoy each day, savour every morsel of food and appreciate the little things. They have such patience with the kids (and us big kids too). In the month they have been here there has not been a single sideways glance passed between them or a single moody moment, it’s like living in a zero judgment zone – enlightening!
9) Love equally
Never once have I felt side lined or overlooked. I have had some quiet moments and even then what I got in return was a back rub and hot tea! When Tiger and Pup bring their chosen loves into my home I will treat them as I have been treated….with love, acceptance and not an ounce of judgment or superiority. I am a lucky lucky lucky girl!
10) It’s ok to be different
I have yet to meet 2 people so different and yet so alike. Any difference of opinion is acknowledged and accepted as a point of view and that’s it – they move on. They have, through the years, determined who is good at what and an immediate balance is seen. They are not clones of each other and neither is trying to change the other.
Sigh, I am going to miss them terribly when they leave but they leave me changed in ways that they probably will never realise. I guess this is my way of thanking them for making me a better wife, a better mom, a better me! It really is possible to love your in laws!