When you marry a person, you’re not just marrying that person, but their family as well. Isn’t that what they say? I don’t know if I buy that or not, but I do know that in-laws can be problematic to a happy marriage. Trust me.
I now have in-laws. Lots and lots of in-laws. When your husband is the youngest of NINE (can you say Catholic?), the in-laws extend well beyond the horizon. None of them, however, live in Nashville or anywhere in Tennessee so I’ve only met a very small percentage of Daniel’s family. (Although I have heard plenty of stories about the rest of them!)
We spent this past weekend in Louisville Kentucky – the epicenter of the in-laws – to spend a little time with select members of the clan. No trip to Louisville would be complete without a special visit to The Favorite Niece. With eight siblings all older than him, Daniel has nieces and nephews (and even a few great nieces and nephews) in abundance, but only one with whom he shares a kindred relationship. It would be difficult not to like this woman. Smart and sarcastic but genuinely warm, she shares the same dry sense of humor as Daniel. Plus, she’s a hardcore animal advocate, rescuing and rehabilitating animals of all kinds when she’s not making a living as a vet tech, so I love her already. She’s the kind of interesting, independent woman I would be drawn to even if she wasn’t a part of my family.
Then there are The Girls. This may be a misnomer on my part, but I can’t help it because even though “The Girls” are in their 80’s, they’re just so darn adorable I feel compelled to put them in my pockets every time we see them. One half of The Girls duo is Daniel’s mother and the other half is her sister. The sister has been a nun all her life; that fact alone is bordering on precious. And she’s not one of those overly serious, dour nuns. While she would never utter a bad word about anybody, she has an unmistakable twinkle in her eye and a wicked wit to complement her generous spirit.
My mother-in-law (not a nun…for obvious reasons) is the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back without a second thought and then give you her trousers as well (figuratively of course). And then she’d thrust upon you the most deliciously melting, eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head, Christmas cookies (literally of course). Mother-in-laws get a bad rap, but I definitely lucked out on that front. She’s gracious, completely unpretentious, and playfully returns all ribbing from her horrid children (just kidding…they’re not all horrid).
Plus, The Girls’ mother was Katherine DeFelice, so I’m in.
I also met another sibling (I am now up to 3 out of 8), and a nephew. It’s a little weird to suddenly be a part of such an enormous family. Daniel has already met Every. Single. Member. of my family. No, seriously, he has. Including ALL of my aunts and uncles, grandparents, step parents, even all of my cousins and some of my second cousins.
One of my sisters-in-law and The Favorite Niece predicted if we had decided to have a traditional wedding, it would have been frighteningly similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Strike Greek. Insert Italian.)
I suppose eventually I’ll have met all of my in-laws. I haven’t yet met one I dislike. Surely that’s a good sign.