This past week, Princess Daddy and I packed up our three girls in less than 2 hours, did some last-minute shopping, tried to get a good night’s rest and drove across the country. His grandfather had passed away. We discussed some options. It was clear HE would not miss the funeral but it was not clear what we should do with the rest of us. Staying home alone for 4 days with two 13 month olds and a 3 1/2-year-old sounded like it would turn into MY funeral but there was no way I would make him feel guilty about going where he needed to be.
Our girls never met his grandpap. They had never met his grammy either. He had great aunts that he hadn’t seen since his teens that would be there as well. They all live in close proximity to a tiny little town with one motel about 200 people and nothing but cows for miles. Let’s be honest, not a big tourist attraction. There was no where for us to stay and nothing for us to do so unfortunately, we never visited. Princess Daddy had a hard time coping with this thought that Grandpap never met Pink and Purple but even worse in almost four years, never met orange. In fact, it has been since 2007 that any of us had seen them, before Grandpap even got sick again.
Fast forward through our regret and emotional thoughts and that landed us right where we are: we spent the last week bonding with family, making important memories, taking pictures and turning a trip for unfortunate circumstances into a vacation.
I’ve not always seen eye-to-eye with my in-laws. They’ve made it clear in the past that I shouldn’t be in their son’s life, protested our engagement and lacked a supportive vibe through many other events. They’ve come around but it’s left me bitter. Every embrace has seemed fake, every gift has been missing meaning. I’ve bit my tongue and carried on to keep them in the girls’ lives because grandparents are important. Prior to dating Princess Daddy, I highly despised my brother-in-law. It wasn’t a secret. He found me equally as annoying.
And this week, that all sort of changed. I found my in-laws to be supportive and helpful as I struggled with the three girls while Princess Daddy grieved and said his goodbyes. The girls enjoyed and embraced them and showed a care and love for them like I see with my side of the family. It opened my eyes. I saw the beauty that having these individuals as my family truly is.
It was an emotionally draining week. Exhausting from lack of sleep, cranky babes, uncomfortable beds, and endless days. Lots of tears. Lots of hugs. But it was an emotionally maturing age. I imagine my in-laws coming over and I don’t feel panic. I don’t feel anxiety. For once, I don’t feel dread.
I wondered when we got married if it would be a lifetime of that. Maybe it took Grandpap passing for us all to realize that life is too short for that. Maybe it took our trip for my mother-in-law to see how supportive and loving of a wife I am, how selfless and giving and caring and I’ll stop tooting my own horn because I’m sure you get it. All these things Princess Daddy has seen in me for years, maybe she finally gets.
So maybe this is a chapter of stress we can close. I mean, trust me, there’s plenty of other things I need to focus on, you know, like the kids. And life.