Life is crazy. Sometimes it’s crazy good. Other times not. 2014 ended with a bang when I got engaged to the only man I’ve ever truly loved in November. 2015 started off with one when I married said man January 10th (if you’re reading my love story blog there will be some updates there too soon so watch for them). Yes, you did read that right…I got engaged November 28th and was married January 10th. No, I’m not pregnant, no I’m not dying, no there was no “urgency” to have such a short engagement other than it’s just kinda what we as LDS people do. Not all of us but as a whole, long engagements aren’t our thing.
Combining two families is tough enough, but moving cross country 8 days after getting married makes that even tougher. Toss in that you’re driving, that you don’t have a home and jobs waiting for you in the new location, that it’s on the opposite side of the country from most of the people you love and then sprinkle in the fact that the location is a totally and completely different culture than you’ve ever known or experienced (my Southern friends will back me up on this I’m sure) AND you’re driving out there with only the bare essentials (you know clothes, computers, cosmetics) and it’s even tougher.
Let’s also point out that we were moving to “his” family. His Mom, his brothers, his nephews, his…
My experience with “in-laws” hasn’t been great. I was never very close to my ex mother in law. Honestly, we share a mutual detest of each other even now. My ex sister in-law and I were never close either. In fact, with one exception (love you Shamon), I don’t particularly care for any of my in-laws.
As a female, I’m hard wired to worry and I am extremely proficient at it. What if his mom didn’t like me, what if his brothers didn’t like me, what if they didn’t like the kids? What if the only reason they loved me is because I was his wife? What if I had the same bad relationships with THESE in-laws I had with just about all the others. What if Arkansas was the death of me because it is precisely 2281.29 from my baby sister/bestie’s house to mine and his family hated me?
My husband and I had countless conversations about it where he tried to reassure me that his people weren’t like “that”. I friended his brother on Facebook and we began to chat and talk and get to know each other. Baby brother seemed nice enough…maybe the others would be too.
We arrived at Mama’s house Friday January 23rd and it was honestly…hell. We wound up sleeping on the floor, I got a text from my daughter while returning the rental car that was alarming and I spent that first night crying myself to sleep. When my husband asked what I needed him to do to help, I begged him to take me home even though there was no longer a home to go home to back in the NW. When he reminded me of that I resigned myself to what I was sure was going to be a long period of gray days despite how brightly the sun was shining.
Looking back on it now, that first night and all of its emotion was likely way more grief over the loss I was still feeling with having moved and exhaustion from the trip. My husband immediately got to work fixing things though and the following afternoon (January 24th, 2015) we received keys to a home of our own.
Since getting our own spot, we see Mama and the boys at least once a week. The first time we were there for dinner my daughter said a blessing and Mama tacked on a PS. Through her simple prayer thanking God for finally bringing all of her children to her at the same time (this is the first time ever that all four of her boys have lived local to her) and the tears that followed I discovered the purpose of my family being in Arkansas…we were there to answer her prayers period. Amazing how knowing your purpose can sure change your attitude about things. After wiping away her tears I hugged her and she whispered in my ear “thank you, I love you.”
Over the last three weeks I’ve had the opportunity to spend lots of time with Mama. Let me tell you something…I love my Mama! She is without a doubt one of the most amazing women I have ever met or known of in the history of pretty much ever and as divine providence would have it (because I don’t believe in luck), she loves me just because she can. The more time I spend with her the more time I wanna spend.
The story doesn’t end here though…
Upon our arrival, that same brother I was getting to know via phone and Facebook met us at McDonald’s and escorted us to Mama’s house. When a situation there got hard for the kids he swooped them up and immediately commenced spoiling them and showing them off. Already he was proud and when asked “who’s kids are those” his response was “my nieces and nephew.” I was equally proud to claim his son too. Seriously Lil D stole my heart the second we met. From inception and with one exception “these” in-laws were proving to be quite different.
Two weeks ago I got to meet one of my youngest nephews. He is the sweetest, cutest, cuddliest baby EVER. I also got to spend some time with his Dad finally. He wasn’t around much our first weekend here because the baby was sick and in the hospital. This brother, who I lovingly now call Big Mike (and he even agrees he totally is), was just as great as the first one I had gotten to know. In case you’re not counting…one great husband + 1 great Mama + 2 great brothers (the 3rd brother I could do without) + 2 adorable nephews…I’d say we’re off to a good start.
Weekly visits (and sometimes more) have continued since we got here. The more time I spend at Mama’s house and the more I get to know her and the boys, the better it has gotten. So much so in fact, that I jokingly told my husband if we ever divorce I want two things…the bed and Mama!
Mama and I are so close already. Two weeks ago she hugged me and said “you are simply my daughter and I love you”. What validation and acceptance in that statement. I made a promise to her that I will blog about later, but here’s what’s up…I still despise Arkansas (yes more is coming about that too) but I am crazy about Mama and I will be local to her until the day she dies.
Sunday we typically always go to Mama’s house. Yesterday we came home from Church, those that were hungry grabbed a snack and off we headed. We walked in and I was greeted with hugs and the 2 great brothers both asked how I was. Here’s the best part…they both GENUINELY wanted to know too. Mama smiles as she sees us walk in and stops what she’s doing to hug on all of us. The house is full of people. Mama, all 4 of her boys, me, 4 of her grandkids, and my brother’s girlfriend. Later joining us is my other brother’s wife, and Mama’s husband. Did I mention how crazy I am about these nephews…
I’m so happy being there that when my husband asks if we should head home before it gets dark I volunteer to drive (even though I don’t really like driving at night) so that we can stay longer. At one moment of the evening, I found myself looking around the room and just taking it all in. I couldn’t contain the happiness I was feeling…you may recall the status update. I love my family I’m telling ya!
We return to our home and go about our nighttime/bedtime rituals and as I lay all snuggled up next to my husband it hits me.
I am FINALLY enough!
In that moment I realized that good, bad or ugly (and sometimes I’m all of those things)…I am enough.