This is a picture of me with my daughter-in-law's mother, taken several years ago when our kids were still just engaged. She had come east to visit us for a few days and to be there to watch her daughter run in the Boston Marathon. (She is the most wonderful woman, and she raised a very special daughter, let me tell you.) The first time we met, a couple of months before this photo was taken, the two of us clicked instantly. After seeing us together when she came to our house, my funny second oldest son said, "Mom, you've got a new BFF." It would have been enough just to get along with the mother of my son's future wife; but to feel an instant kinship was a great gift indeed. Now, this woman and I are joined together for life--Nonna and Grammy--as grandmothers to the same identical twin baby girls. She's my son's mother-in-law; but I feel like she's every bit as much a part of my life now as his.
Some years ago, a friend's daughter was getting very serious with a young man whose mother was having trouble accepting that she was no longer the most important woman in her son's life. She and her boyfriend's mother had a bit of a strained relationship at first, and her parents were understandably concerned that when the two of them got married, having this woman as a mother-in-law could make life very difficult for their daughter. The girl told her folks not to worry. She said, "I'm not going to marry his family; I'm going to marry him." Her father chuckled and replied, "Oh, yes you are! Don't kid yourself. When you marry someone, you marry his family too; because like it or not they're going to be a part of your life forever." (As a postscript to this story, I am happy to report that our friend's daughter did indeed marry this young man, and his mother did a complete turnabout and accepted her new daughter-in-law with open arms. She would have been a fool not to; that girl was a peach, and if arranged marriages were still the norm, my husband and I might have tried to set something up between that sweet young thing and our second son!)
It's so true that when two people marry, their families become forever intertwined. So far, we only have one son who is married, and he could not possibly have married into a more wonderful family. He and his wife were wise when they were courting: they both made it a point to visit each other's families and get to know them before they got engaged--and they were anxious to have both sets of parents meet, too, as soon as we possibly could, so that we weren't strangers seeing each other for the first time the weekend of their wedding. Smart kids.
We have not only gained a daughter, but her whole family, too--we are all joined together in our love for these two kids and their kids, our grandkids; our lives are, and forever will be, intertwined. We are truly blessed!