My sister Donna sent me a text yesterday – I’ve been reading your blog to Doug on the way to work. His last comment yesterday was, ‘What about the brothers-in-law? Where do they fit in?’ I had already planned to write about them today, so Doug – here you go!
It takes an incredible man to marry a strong, independent woman. My sisters have partnered with amazing men. Dan, Zip, Doug, Paul and Joe joined our family because they fell in love with one of my sisters. I have always been a member of our crazy, loud, boisterous family. It’s hard for me to imagine what it is like meeting us for the first time. Although I think we are a welcoming group, we don’t always follow turn-taking rules in conversation. As I type that sentence, I can hear the peanut gallery laughing….
Even though these men are not my blood relations, I have known and related to most of them as brothers essentially all my life. Dan married my sister Susan when I was nine months old. I was the flower girl in Mary Jane and Zip’s wedding when I was three. I remember playing outside and eating grape popsicles with Paul, Caroline’s future husband, after coming home from kindergarten. Donna married Doug when I was in sixth grade and I was thrilled because Doug had a pool at his house and this meant I would have somewhere to go swimming! Joe, my sister Sandy’s boyfriend, has been part of the crew since I introduced him to my sister nine years ago. He kindly opened his house to my parents last year so they could stay nearby while I was hospitalized.
When something happens to a brother-in-law, it impacts us as much as something happening to a sister. Zip’s terminal cancer diagnosis hurt as much as my sister Mary Jane’s terminal cancer diagnosis. We worried and prayed for Paul when he fell two stories off of scaffolding as much as we worried and prayed for Caroline when she was hospitalized after an ectopic pregnancy.
These men have taught me important lessons over the years, such as:
- Don’t be afraid to get your sled out in the middle of a snow storm on Christmas Eve even though you are supposed to be in bed. Santa will still come (thanks Dan!).
- Hockey is more than a sport, and you should never apologize for following your team (thanks Zip!).
- At family weddings it’s best to dance with abandon when “Dancing Queen” comes on, even if you aren’t seated at lucky table #7 (thanks Doug!).
- Quality control is important when baking and you should never be afraid to reserve a few of the “imperfect” cookies for testing (thanks Paul!).
- It you bet on a horse at Saratoga, stick with your gut instead of what your sister’s boyfriend recommends (thanks Joe – this probably works better for me than for you!).
In all seriousness, I am grateful to all of you for being examples of commitment and fidelity. I am blessed to witness your loving relationships with my sisters. I value your assistance and insight. As a group, we sisters learned to be determined, some might say stubborn, women. You willingly accepted us and joined us for this crazy adventure we call life, and on this Thanksgiving Day and every day, I am thankful to have you as a part of our family.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? Feel free to share your gratitude in the comments below.