When I married Rowan, I got a surprise bonus family that I hadn't really thought about. In-laws are stereotypically difficult to get along with and sometimes I find that to be true, but I also have found my wife's family to be most wonderfully accepting of me. For the most part we get along pretty well and I feel grateful for that. I have also found myself in impassioned arguments with them and the nice thing is after arguing a subject out we go back to treating each other with dignity and respect. It's an added bonus!
So When we go to New Jersey, there are 3 groups of people. The Parents, Richard and Marilyn Petrosino, the Sister-in-law, Kelly and her kids, Ricky, Steven and Nickie. and then The Mother-in-Law (Vicky Rose) from Rowan's first husband Cosmo who passed away a number of years ago and sister in law Michelle, who was married to Cosmo's brother Victor and lives next door to Vicky.
Can you keep this straight? I can now, but at first it was difficult. And it was so hard meeting Mrs. Rose knowing that I was now married to the woman her son was married to before he passed away.
I need to say now Mrs. Rose is an amazing woman to be so gracious to me. She's one tough lady and I have an enormous amount of respect for her.
All in all I've come to love all of them and it is so nice having a family to spend the holidays with, even if it is often difficult to make all the travel arrangements. Having spent the time with them, it makes me think about my own family.
I do miss the days of my childhood when (mother's mother) Gran and my mother would do most of the cooking and the rest of the family would come for the day or weekend, I remember having 10-14 people every holiday. Now my Gran's family is so spread out and splintered I am not sure if it would even be possible, or wise to gather everyone in. When the Matriarch of the family goes, there is often fallout from the factions :)
Of course I know I could still break bread with my siblings..but since we are all over the country that's not likely to happen. Florida, Texas and California, with me in PA. No, I am glad to have a family to share the holidays with. Someday I hope we can host our own holiday dinners and the kids can bring their kids to visit the crazy grandparents, but I can wait for that :) I can wait a long time!