Sunday, April 5, 2015

til death do us part

When I was young, as many young girls do, I spent a good amount of time day-dreaming about my future husband. (Just so you know, he was going to be a way cool surfer dude with perfectly tan biceps and bleach blond hair that fell at just the right angle across his sky blue eyes. Don't judge me, I was 12.) I thought about our future home and what we would do for a living and how many kids we would have (have I mentioned here before that I am sometimes very detail oriented?!). But one thing I didn't spend any time at all thinking about was the future family that I would marry into. I didn't consider my potential mate's parents or step-parents or brothers or sisters, his grandparents or aunts or uncles or cousins. I was far more concerned about those eyes that I'd be staring into for the rest of my life. (Interesting coincidence: Will has amazing blue eyes. Win!) 

So when I finally met and married Will, even though I had spent a fair amount of time with his family during our two years of dating and engagement, I was still mostly starry eyed, staring at my brand new husband with his blond hair and blue eyes and sweet nature and hilarious sense of humor. I knew that I liked all of them very much, but I didn't realize how huge that was at the time. I still hadn't spent much time considering this new family that I had just become a part of "'til death do us part." 

I didn't think about the fun times we would have or the holidays we would spend together or the downright hard experiences we would share.
I never thought about the weddings we would attend or the babies we would hold or the tears we would cry together. 
I never considered the time we would spend around a hospital bed or nights we would sleep at each other's houses or meals we would share around kitchen tables. 
Or the prayers we would say and the hands we would hold and the hugs we would give.
Or the text messages we would send and the emails that would fly back and forth and the vacations we would plan. 
I never dreamed of the friendships we would form or the trust that would grow between us or the laughs and smiles we would share. 
I had no idea that one day I wouldn't just have one family...

I'd have two. 

But over the last 13 years, as I've spent more and more time with this family, that's exactly what has happened. I don't just have one family, I have two. I don't feel "married in." I feel like I'm a daughter and a sister and a niece and a cousin. And that's huge. Huge. Because not everyone gets to that point with their spouse's family. Not everyone feels comfortable enough to host family gatherings or make phone calls or have girl cousin night out or plan play dates with their "married family" members. I am incredibly fortunate to have married a wonderful man with an equally wonderful family. And although it hasn't always been easy and the road hasn't always lead us down the path we desperately wanted to take, we've walked it together. And I can honestly say that I am proud and honored to be part of the Williams/Stables crew. Thanks for taking me in as one of the family. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Although Easter is an incredibly hopeful holiday that I absolutely love, the last four Easters since my mother-in-law, Phyllis, passed away have made me a little sad as well. She loved Easter because of the Resurrection and because it meant lots of time with family. We gathered this past Saturday at her extended family's Easter celebration and had a wonderful time talking and laughing and eating and playing. And then Will and I hosted his immediate family at our house yesterday where we had more fun talking and laughing and eating and playing. And as I looked out over both family gatherings and thought, as I always do, of Phyllis, I just had to smile. Because I knew she was, too. 

On this Easter Monday, I am incredibly, incredibly thankful for BOTH of my families. May you all know how much you are loved and appreciated.

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