Marco Polo comes to mind. So does Magellan and Vasco de Gama. Ponce de Leon, Amerigo Vespucci, Coronado, Balboa, even Lewis and Clark.
I’m not a history buff like my husband, but I do remember some historical facts, events, and names from all those history classes I once sat in and I recall these famous explorers.
Those brave souls launched out into the world in search of new lands, wealth, power, prestige, or new trade routes. I’m not one of those adventuresome types of pioneers. I don’t branch out too far from my familiar territory and I’m not in search of any of those acquisitions.
But I do feel as if hubby and I have just entered uncharted territory – a new place to be explored, to navigate through, and to understand. It’s called the land of mothers/fathers-in-law.
It’s a brand new role for us, a different experience. Oh, hubby and I had our own mothers and fathers in-law, and good example of ones too, but we’ve not acquired that role until now.
Accepting that you will be someone’s mother-in-law and father-in-law is the easy part, especially when you approve of the new family member-to-be. From early on in middle daughter’s relationship with her now newlywed husband, our son-in-law called me “mom.” And I liked the “you’re not losing a daughter, but gaining a son” mantra. So acceptance part? I’m down with that. No problemo.
Our daughter has been married for almost two weeks now, and hubby and I have been discussing our new role in this unfamiliar territory of in-law-ville. We’re trying to identify parameters and boundaries and we firmly believe this new role involves “keeping your opinions to yourself unless asked for them.” It’s the untethering of some of the ties that bind and letting go that might prove emotional.
We want to give the newlyweds space, which physically is simple since they now live a couple hours away from us. But emotionally, it’s a bit more difficult. I think we’re working our way along the trail, hacking down the potential thorns, and cutting a workable pathway, but I know obstacles will surely come our way.
We realize we’re not Star Trek voyagers whose mission is “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Lots of you have been there, done that. So that’s why I’m asking those of you who’ve sailed into these uncharted waters before us for your words of wisdom.
What have you found to be the most important aspects of being in-laws for the first time? What advice would you give us? How do you figure out the holidays? What mistakes have you made that we should avoid?
Just as our newly married daughter and son-in-law head off into a new life together, hand in hand, so do her mother and father.
It’s a voyage we will venture upon three times this year as each of our adult children marry. With prayer and wisdom, we hope to find smooth sailing ahead. Or at least, a navigable path.
“Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia
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