This Thanksgiving was a first in our clan. It was a gathering from both sides of the family.
As long as Bekah and I have lived in North Idaho, we've shared the holiday with her parents and one (if not both) of her sisters. As her sisters found love and marriage, their husbands have joined as much as possible. For all practical purposes, holidays for our family are largely events with Bekah's side of the family tree.
This year was different. My folks drove up from Cheyenne with my niece as an extra passenger. A stowaway or something like that.
The dining room table at my in-laws place was full. 10 adults with 4 kids around a card table in the living room. Bekah's family and my family combined. That house was boisterous and filled with laughter, love, turkey, apple pie, and a competitive round of Pictionary.
And it is here that I consider myself blessed. I have a good relationship with my in-laws. My father-in-law and I have a similar sense of humor, we'll occasionally go to the movies together or play video games together. My mother-in-law is one of the most caring and compassionate persons I've ever met. My wife's older sister and brother-in-law are two of my favorite people in the world. Bekah's younger sister and I have a shared work history and a shared interest in geek culture so it's easy to swap stories and jokes with her.
I know that I'm lucky. I know that there are people out there that do not get along with their in-laws. I know that there is animosity between many spouses and their in-laws. I realize that my relationships with my wife's family is rather unique. I get it.
But there's more. My parents feel welcomed as a part of my wife's family. Her parents and my parents get along with each other. When Bekah and I were dating (and still living in Boise) my folks drove from Seattle to Coeur d'Alene to meet Bekah's parents and the four of them went out for dinner together. They share a mutual respect for each other and a common interest in the family that Bekah and I have created.
I know that's rare. I know that most people wouldn't dare placing their parents and their in-laws in the same room. I've DJ'd for weddings where the family bride's side and the family on the groom's side don't like the each other. I've even DJ'd for weddings where the two sides made zero effort to hide the contempt they felt for the other side.
I can't imagine living life like that. I can't imagine how I would be able to maintain a healthy marriage if I didn't like Bekah's family or if she didn't like mine. I know that mother in law is an anagram of woman hitler, but I'm glad that the moms in our life don't resemble that description.
It amazes me that people think that it's normal to not get along with the in-laws. I think it's strange that people could approach marriage with the perspective:"I hate your parents but lets get married anyways." It boggles my mind. I think it's weird. That might make me weird, and I'm OK with that.
There is a lot of love in our family. I am grateful for that. And I wouldn't want it any other way.