We've all heard horror stories about nosy, intrusive in-laws who don't know their place or don't offer much support. Well, you won't hear any of those horror stories from me.
I am blessed when it comes to in-laws. Truly blessed. In all respects - in my own family (sisters-in-law and brother-in-law) and Marcel's. They are good people - all of them.
Yesterday, we celebrated Marcel's parents' 45th anniversary and his dad's 70th birthday. Once again, I was reminded how lucky I am to have married into a good family. They are loyal, supportive, kind, generous, trustworthy, and gracious. They have always supported me and treated me well. They have done alot for us in our 13 years of marriage. No, they're not wealthy and cannot shower us with material goods, but they give us a great deal of moral support which is worth alot more than the financial support would ever be.
In celebration of this special occasion, we honoured them in the way that we all knew would mean the most to them. We kept it small (they HATE to have a fuss made over them and are not fond of big parties), we didn't make them the centre of attention (except for a small announcement by the train conductor), and we didn't spend a huge amount of money on them. Our special day was spent riding the Prairie Dog Central, a delightful vintage train that takes you out into the country and stops at 2 small towns where there are farmers' markets and small-town entertainment. It was about as good as it gets - a slow pace, a picnic lunch, a few treats along the way, and a day spent with their children and grandchildren.
Today, after the festivities were over and most of the family had gone back to work, Marcel and I and the girls went to help his parents with some of the yard work. They still have a big yard in the country, and it's getting harder and harder for them to keep up with all the work. Marcel's been helping them out a fair bit lately, and today, since I'm on holidays, I went along.
It's a little hard for Marcel to watch them getting older. His dad is having trouble with his legs. Instead of walking to the garden at the back of the property, he rides his lawn tractor back and forth. He still keeps a big garden (partly because he likes to share the bounty with his kids), but it's getting harder and harder for him to maintain it. Julie and I helped pick peas today, and later Marcel's mom said she thought he enjoyed the company as much as he appreciated the help. Either way, I'm glad we did it.
There was a golden moment this afternoon that I wish I'd had a camera for. I was the last one in the garden (the heat was getting a bit unbearable for Marcel's dad and Julie) and when I walked back to the house, Marcel's parents and our three daughters were sitting in lawnchairs under the shade of a big maple tree. They were shelling peas together, talking and laughing as they did. I just stood and watched for awhile, feeling so blessed to have these good people in my life and my daughters' lives.
As they get older, their world is getting increasingly smaller. They don't go out much, can't get around as much as they once could, and never travel farther than the city where we live (about half an hour from their place in the country). They don't feel the need for travel or expensive things. They have few hobbies (Dad loves his garden and his lawn tractors, Mom reads the newspaper diligently). Their lives are fairly simple. But they are content with what they have. They're happy when their children visit, and their greatest joy is their grandchildren.
They're not perfect. They've made mistakes along the way (name one parent who hasn't). But I thank God for them and for the many ways they've blessed me since I joined the family. I am lucky to have them as in-laws and my children are lucky to have them as grandparents.
(And now, if only Blogger would cooperate, I'd add a picture. Maybe later.)