You are your in-laws reflection
If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, (that should be an absolute YES!) than you know the relationship I have with my wife’s parents. Simply put, IT’S AWESOME! Before Parker came along, we talked almost daily about any and everything. It is something that I’ve come to enjoy. I would pop in randomly just to sit and watch a show or two. When John had back surgery, I had a day off, and I drove 2 hours to surprise him while he was in rehab, I call Mary Jane and give her “expert” advice on life, and they give me insight of their own. It’s a relationship that I’ve truly come to value, and couldn’t imagine a relationship of any other kind.
I say that, but I don’t want you all to think this is how it’s been from day one. It hasn’t, but that’s not the point of today’s post. The point I want to stress is this: the relationship I have with my in-laws exists because that is what I WANTED. I was not going to settle for a relationship where I felt like I was only accepted because their daughter accepted my proposal. I was going to insert myself into the core of the Stevens family! So far, that’s worked out pretty well for me lol. I’ll BRIEFLY speak on the differences we had, after all, I promised to be honest with you all from the beginning. You know what? I’ll just paint the outline, and let you color in the image yourselves.
Picture this, a young aspiring African American rap artist…..never mind. Let’s just say there were cultural, and socio-economic differences that we all have learned from. The key word is LEARNED, and that comes from a place of wanting to know. This isn’t to say the Stevens weren’t GREAT people, hell, I’ve had to have these same conversations with my mother. It was just a different time for our parents, and it caused a different way of thinking. We’ve moved past that, our relationship is better for it, and that’s not what I want you to remember after reading this. However, it does help others understand that just because something WAS a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to STAY that way. It also will help you understand why the bond I share with my in-laws may seem a bit stronger than most.
Oh Dear, I’ve gotten off track…again, but what else is new? Where was I? Relationships, that’s right. I knew from the moment Whitney said “Yes”, the type of “in-law” relationship I wanted. I didn’t want a come by on major holidays, only speak through the wife, every six months “what’s new” type of relationship. I wanted an extra set of parents. I wanted advice from someone I knew had my best interest at heart. I wanted to know that when S*#T got real; there was someone I could reach out to and just talk. I wanted the ability to feel vulnerable when my parents weren’t around. If I cried, I wanted to hear, “it’s okay”, if I told a horrible joke, I wanted to be called out on it. That’s exactly how I feel! But again, that’s because that’s what I worked to establish. When I said “I do”, I said it to her, and to them. I promised to “show up” for her and for them. I wanted to be authentic for her and for them. Our relationship is rooted in love and understanding. They can ask me ANYTHING, and I’d be happy to answer it. It may not be the answer they’re expecting, but the answer nonetheless!
Now, let’s throw Parker into this story. After all, she is the reason I started openly talking about the adventures in fatherhood right? She gets to see her grandma and pawpaw as MUCH as she wants, and her eyes light up like its Christmas every time. I’m thankful for that. I’m more thankful for it because OUR relationship is so strong. Sometimes I sit there and watch their interaction, and it’s just a beautiful thing. To me, I see nothing but love. I see it from a point of past, present and future. I see the relationship I started with, I see the relationship she got to start with, the relationship we have now, and the unbreakable bond the future holds. I don’t have “in-laws” I have another mom and dad! Then again, that’s exactly what I wanted to begin with!