Thursday, December 6, 2018

Spending Thanksgiving With The Ex In-Laws

Yes, you read that right. We spent Thanksgiving with my ex in-laws. That might sound crazy, but let me explain more about how this worked.

I've known my in-laws or let's call them in-loves for 20 yrs. I became best friends with my ex's oldest sister, Liz. She had a daughter from her first marriage, I had two daughters from my first marriage. She and I then proceeded to have two boys 6 months apart and two boys 3 months apart. I was in the room taking pictures and videotaping when she had her second daughter! His other sister, Becky, had a daughter almost a year after our first set of boys were born. Then we were all pregnant at the same time with our next kids, but I lost the baby and got pregnant a couple months later. So Liz and Becky both had boys, and then along came my son a few months later. Lastly there was his brother, Dan, whose wife, Maria also had a little girl already from her first marriage, then had a son a year after the first boys were born and then proceeded to have two more girls.

Needless to say our kids grew up pretty close to their cousins, aunts, and uncles. While Becky and Liz lived only about a half an hour from each other, we were 8 hours away up in Minnesota, and Maria was all the way in Virginia. Fourth of July was always spent up at Gram's cabin in Aitkin, MN. Thanksgivings and every other Christmas was spent in Illinois for our family.

Even after the separation and divorce, I still stayed close to my sisters-in-love. When the boys and I moved to the East Coast, we were only 3 hours away from Dan & Maria! While we haven't made it down there as much as we'd like for holidays because my family and Fred's family are here as well, we have had more opportunities to spend with them the past 5 yrs. Not nearly enough as far as I'm concerned.

One of my worries after the divorce was how I'd fit in with the family. Liz and I were close, but she was no longer family by marriage. I had always told her, jokingly, that I'd never divorce my ex because I love her too much. hahahaha Well, life happened and divorce was what needed to happen. Thankfully my sisters-in-love didn't ditch me.

I know there are many families who turn their backs on the in-law who is now divorced from their child/sibling, but this group of people weren't like that! I'm so incredibly blessed by that fact. We've spent holidays together still. The one holiday we haven't spent together in years is Christmas. Being out here with my parents & siblings has made it hard to go anywhere else. Not only that, it's almost a 15 hr drive. Not super easy to get there and back.

That being said. Dan & Maria have been hosting Thanksgiving for the past 6-5 yrs. We have only made it a couple times, but those times have been such a blessing. This year, when we were invited, I wasn't sure if we'd be able to make it. I called my father-in-law, Fred "Sr", to see how he'd feel about spending the holiday with my ex's family. It would've been completely understandable if he'd said I was crazy and he'd never consider such a thing. Shockingly, he didn't respond that way. All he said was, "Whatever you guys decide to do, I'll go along." Isn't that amazing?

On a side note, my ex wasn't there. I won't ever celebrate a holiday with him. So, that's something we'll never have to run into. Of course that means limited holidays spent with the extended family since he's at most of them these days.

I think it helped that Pap met Liz and her daughter, Renae at Brieanne's wedding in July and they absolutely loved him. For my hubby it's still really awkward for him. I totally get it. It's my ex's family. They are warm and welcoming, but it's still my ex's family. lol Since he wasn't welcomed and well loved by his ex's family he isn't used to having a wonderful relationship with in-laws, except now he gets to experience it with MY family, his new in-laws.

We played games, walked around Williamsburg, ate a Thanksgiving dinner together, and family photos. The boy cousins built a fort out of the bamboo that grows in the yard. The girls tried building one, but I don't know how well it turned out. We watched the Tech vs UVA game and that was pretty exciting. Then the girls had a good time trying out a "golden" mask.

One of the bummers of this trip was my oldest son wasn't able to go down with us because he had to work Friday and Saturday morning. I know as he gets older it's going to be harder and harder to have him at family gatherings. Whether it's with my parents, Fred's dad, or the boys' extended family, the boys are getting older and have more responsibilities.

We also missed having Liz, her husband, John, and their youngest son there. Their son had a basketball tournament, which he missed last year, and he didn't want to miss another one. Totally understandable, but they sure were missed.

I know it's an unconventional way to spend a major holiday, but a wonderful time was had by everyone. I don't know if we'll ever do that again, but it was a very special few days with some very lovely people.


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.