Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: When You Marry
By Ron Hale
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When you marry a person, you marry a family. Your spouse has the collective experiences and influences of their family joining you at the altar. Scary; most certainly!
My in-laws were an enigma from the very start.
They were so totally opposite of my parents. Believe me, my parents were not perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination. But my new in-laws made me scratch my head from the very first introduction. Why?
They chose to divorce soon after I married their daughter. My wife was their remaining child to marry and leave home. It seemed they were waiting for their last little bird to fly or flee the nest so they could enjoy their long awaited freedom and individuality.
After their hasty and nasty divorce, my in-laws settled about one-thousand miles from each other. Gradually and greedily their mid-life crisis drifted into old age; neither party ever remarried.
From the point of their divorce, my dear wife never received a birthday card, Christmas card, or Christmas gift from her parents. Our son (their grandbaby) never received attention on special days. I knew it hurt my wife as I received cards, gifts, and phone calls from my Mother on my special days.
Over the years one ugly word stands out as a descriptor of my in-laws Ė selfishness. How can two people be so utterly selfish? Itís still a mystery to me.
They finally grew old, alone, and helpless. One lost their physical health and the other lost their mental health. Their daughter asked if we could take them both in to live with us. For some strange reason, her love never failed or faltered.
In their late eighties, they now live with us. As a minister, I recently had them join hands around our kitchen table recently to exchange wedding vows. I pronounced them husband and wife and they feebly kissed to seal the deal. There wasnít a honeymoon or a fancy reception. Just a nice meal cooked and served by a loving daughter. They loved the chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
My heart aches for all the lost opportunities they had to show love and affection, too each other and their three daughters. They missed so much!
Their selfishness still comes to the surface every day. Now itís only the shadow of selfishness -- without the strength to do too much about it. Itís pitiful and still hurts to see it.
They gave me their daughter. Their daughter gave me a son. They are precious to me. This is more than enough reason to love my in-laws.
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