I just spent the weekend celebrating my father in law's eighty eighth birthday which involved all his kids, their husband's or wives, various grandchildren and their partners and a few of his great grandchildren thrown in for good measure. It also meant four birthday cakes and who can resist that?
I am lucky enough to have a father in law who I absolutely adore and even luckier to know that the feelings are mutual. I was also blessed with a loving mother in law but sadly she passed away a couple of years ago which makes our family gatherings extra poignant these days.
My f in l ( as he calls himself, which always makes me giggle as it sounds almost like I'm swearing at him) was and still is completely devoted to his wife and talks of her often and how they first met and some of the mischief they got up to back in the day.
We all tend to think of our in laws and elders as being stuffy sexless creatures and we forget that they were young and passionate once too. I love that he is willing to share some of that passion with me let me know that passion doesn't fade. Sure the body might not be quite as willing but the fire doesn't die out completely... or ever.
Things that my F in L has taught me:
(1) Family matters and love matters most of all
I have been welcomed into this family from the first day. I probably wouldn't have been the first ( or even second ) choice for their son as I was ten years younger and had three kids already, one of whom was only a babe in arms. I'm not sure what they thought of me then and they never showed me anything other than love.. and my boys too. That in itself is priceless.
(2) Judgment is best left at the door
I am not the world's greatest housekeepers. Ok, let's be real, I suck at housekeeping. Thankfully my mother in law ( or M in L) never, ever judged the appearance of my house when they came for visits. In fact , one time I apologized for the state of the house and she replied " we came to see you not the house." and for that I will always love her!
(3) Even when you disagree love trumps all
Early on my husband and his mother had an argument and she hung up on him... but they soon made up because that's what family does. They could never get their head around the fact that my parents and I are still not talking after 7 years - that just seemed like a waste to them ( and yes, I have reached out to them and yes, it is a long involved story and no, it won't be healed any time soon)
(4) Acceptance is everything
I write about sex. I podcast about sex (if you haven't listened in yet , go check it out). I call myself a Sex Goddess. All of which my in laws never bat an eye - ever. In fact, they both used to check in with me as to how my business was/is going.
The bottom line in all of this is that love trumps everything. That's it. So let's spread more love out there in the world