Last night we had dinner at PF Changs to celebrate my in-laws' actual anniversary. As always we were a loud, boisterous but happy crowd. Whenever we get together there is always non-stop talking, good natured teasing, and lots of laughing. I am definitely lucky that I have such a good relationship with my in-laws (and that includes parents, sisters, brothers, spouses and nieces and nephews too). There are countless stories about terrible mother and daughter-in-law feuds or of wives who can not get along with their husbands’ families. I can’t imagine having that kind of drama going on with my in laws. Right from the start, each one of them welcomed me into the family and made me feel like I belonged. I never had those awkward get-to-know moments or times when I felt like the outsider. It was never really a problem fitting in.
What makes me even more lucky is the fact that Jojo comes from such a close-knit and easy going family. Actually, in many ways, Jojo’s family is like mine. Both our dads have a great sense of humor which often keeps the rest of us laughing. Both our moms are poised and proper and are quintessential homemakers in every sense of the word. They both gave up careers to raise kids, support their husbands and run happy households. And having parents like that, I think, makes a huge difference. All our brothers and sisters, despite having differing personalities and interests, are super devoted to and protective of one another. Jojo’s family is extremely close – and I mean that figuratively and literally. After all, we all live about 10-15-minutes away from each other and we spend almost all weekends chilling out in each others’ homes. Till I met my hubby’s family, I actually thought mine was one of the rare families that actually enjoyed hanging out together the way friends do.
One of the things I like best about Jojo’s family is how they look out for each other - whether it’s big things (like helping each other out with finances) to little things (like babysitting each others’ kids). Now that my father-in-law has retired, all his kids are clamoring for him and my mom-in-law to come live with them. It’s kind of sweet how my in-laws divide their time staying with each of their kids. But I think that’s exactly what makes a family … a family. I can’t imagine not having my parents stay with me or with one of my siblings when (and if) my dad ever retires. Since he moved to his own apartment, I’ve been telling my brother, Jules, to come back and stay with us. And our home is always open to whenever Jim, Joy or Atsi are ready to move to
It helps that spending time with Jojo’s family helps me become less homesick. But on the flip side, sometimes their closeness reminds me too much of my family and that also makes me miss mine even more.