Written By: Kathy @ Kissing the Frog
Feature Photo circa 2007 – one is not present
In the early days of my relationship with my husband, we would spend hours talking on the phone. I remember one particular conversation in which I sat with a notebook and pen taking notes.
He was telling me all about his family. He is the youngest of eight, and at the time, all of his brothers and sisters were married with kids. He was telling me all of their names and spouses’ names and kids’ names. I hadn’t met any of them yet, but I was going to be ready when I did.
The one thing that made me nervous was that he has five sisters. FIVE! I had sort of met them briefly on our second date. They were all standing around in the kitchen of his parents’ house when I came to pick him up for a movie. I saw them all through the window, and as I approached the house, I tugged on my short shorts and tried to stretch out my tight shirt just a bit.
These were the women I would have to get in good with if I was to become part of the family. Not to mention, I’d have to get along with the two sisters-in-law, too. Throw in his mom, and that’s a lot of women to win over!
Oddly enough, the first time I really met them all, at their weekly Sunday Family Dinner, no one talked to me. But not in a purposefully exclusionary way – more in a ‘we-don’t-notice-anything-out-of-the-ordinary-because-there’s-always-tons-of-people-here-anyway’ way.
I was just accepted into their large fold unconditionally. I would later learn that they all adored Hubby so much that they just assumed that anyone who was good enough for him would be all right by them, so my acceptance was never really a question.
I became one of the “dark-haired sisters-in-law in a sea of blondes, and I got so lucky! I have eight extra women in my life whom I love and who love me. It doesn’t escape me how extraordinary that is. Along with Hubby, I acquired a mother-in-law who adores me and will do anything for me, in addition to seven pretty special sisters.
The one who never forgets a birthday.
The one who is the best aunt any of our kids could ask for.
The one who saved me when Joey was sick.
The one who makes her time in town special for the kids and me.
The one who always asks about our boys and who makes me laugh.
The one who jumped at the chance to teach our boys swimming lessons this summer.
The one who made me feel like I wasn’t alone when I miscarried our first baby.
On Mother’s Day, we gathered for dinner again. The oldest grand-daughter had brought us together for a “gender reveal” party for her first baby. As I looked around the room at all these women, and watched my boys play outside with their cousins, I realized that my sons will potentially have three sisters-in-law of their own – maybe more – and those women will have three sisters-in-law. My relationships with my sisters-in-law will potentially set the tone for theirs, and I feel pretty good about that.
In a day and age when so many people are outspoken about their dysfunctional families, it’s nice to be in a place where I feel comfortable, where my sons feel loved, and where Hubby is proud to bring us. It’s a true testament to his family, and I can only hope that my own future family will mirror that acceptance and love.
For me, it’s not a question anymore of how many sisters-in-law I have. It’s a question of how many sisters I have.