When you marry someone, you marry their whole family. I’ve always believed that, and it’s true. My ex-husband tried to convince me that it’s not true, which was funny because when I was with him, we had dinner twice a week at his mom’s house. That wasn’t all. Aside from consulting his mother about every decision he made and having coffee with her every day on his way to work in the morning, we had a deep, dark secret to deal with, and I can’t believe I married him in the first place. In the interest of protecting myself, I can’t say what it was, but let me say I’m just glad we made a clean break.
Who would stay in a family like that? I did. Not for long, though. My first marriage only lasted a year and I’m so glad it ended when it did.
I definitely married a better family this time. My current in-laws are great people. I know. I just spent a week with them. They all live in the same town in southern Virginia. They have that Southern connection to the land – been there forever, will never leave.
They all grew up together – went to the same school, saw each other every day – unlike my family, who we saw every quarter, if we were lucky. Seeing my husband’s family so close makes me wonder what it would have been like growing up like that. When Matt’s mom retired, we wondered what she’d do, if she’d be lonely. No need to worry. When we were there, her phone rang at least every hour, always some family member who was either visiting that day or making plans for another.
It would be nice to see family all the time like that. It’s the reason we want to move back East. We would never live in my husband’s family’s town, though. It’s rural and nothing ever happens there, and teen pregnancy is rampant. We would not want our kids to grow up like that. But to be close enough to be able to see family more often, that would be nice. I’d like the kids to grow up feeling like they belong to a larger family. My husband’s family definitely made them feel that way last week. And I definitely wouldn’t mind free babysitting.
We’d like to be closer to my family too – my new family. Last fall, I met my extended birth family. They’re great people and emotionally healthy, too — not like my family of origin at all. I would love to be able to see them more often and get to know them. They see each other all the time too. We couldn’t afford to live in New York City where they live, but we could get closer than Seattle. We would probably wind up moving close to my best friend – she’s also family and she’s commutable to my new family.
I always knew that I wouldn’t marry just a guy, I’d marry a whole family. Just like I picked the wrong guy the first time, I picked the wrong family. This time I picked the right one, and I’m so glad I did.