When I share with friends that my husband’s parents are coming to visit and that said parents are going to be staying with us, I usually see a look on their face that resembles something like pity mixed with a little horror.
My in-laws (isn’t there another word for that?) just left this morning after spending 10 days in our home, and it was a really fun and lovely time. I’m aware of how lucky I am that I get along with my husband’s parents and that they like me too!
I’ll share an experience that’s really the essence of my relationship with those lovely people referred to as my in-laws. They live on the east coast, and we fly out to visit them every year and stay in their home. A couple of years ago, they pulled out all of their family-inherited china and dishes and heirlooms and arranged these pieces on their large dining room table. The spread was just beautiful.
Diana (my mother in-law) told me and Tracy (her daughter) that they were starting to downsize and clean out their home. She shared that we could pick out whatever pieces we wanted to keep. There was a Danish tea set from the 1800s, several delicate tea cups, beautiful plates, items they received from their parents, items received as gifts from their wedding…
I took a moment and just stood in front of this table taking it all in – taking in the significance of what was happening. Diana and her husband were including me in this amazing act of passing on their treasured family items. My perception of what was happening was that they saw me as part of their family – of course I married their son and am family but this was in a way that I hadn’t realized before. And I was able to participate in this sacred family moment.
This really meant a lot to me. My own family doesn’t have family items or heirlooms to pass along. I assume that my relatives in my parents’ home countries probably inherited anything that was meant to be passed down.
So being part of this experience with my husband’s family was deeply moving for me. There’s something powerful about receiving an item that has been passed down. And not because I received some beautiful antique pieces, but because I am loved that much.