Wednesday, March 26, 2014

30 in 30: The Wolking Family

This is the eighteenth article in my 30 in 30 challenge, where I write about 30 things I’m thankful for in the 30 days leading up to my thirtieth birthday.

I have never been able to understand the negative connotation of “in-law” because it just doesn’t exist for me. As a matter of fact, that even extends past Doug’s immediate family, too!
Maybe this was the result of good planning on and Doug’s and my part. When we began dating, we realized that we were a package deal and we knew that when we were going to be married, that it would go beyond “husband and wife.”

It’s hard for me to imagine not having a strong relationship with Doug’s family and I have never once felt like I didn’t belong. They could have treated me as an “in-law,” but instead I am just as important of part of their family as those who are connected by their lineage.

My mother-in-law is one of the kindest people on Earth and I look forward to spending time with her. My favorite memory was the time we got snowed in at her house. We drank wine, cooked meals together and watched a heck of a lot of TV. Never once was there awkwardness – we just did what families do, we enjoyed the togetherness! When I seek advice there are two people I call first, my mom and my mother-in-law. I know that isn’t the norm, so I count my blessings that I have such a strong bond and close relationship with my mother-in-law.

I have also developed a special connection between each of Doug’s siblings and their spouses and in my heart they are my siblings with no descriptor attached. We share sarcasm, advice, humor, tears, playful banter, as well as meaningful conversations! I cherish each one of them for what they bring to the family and I so grateful that they have accepted me as their own!

Doug’s nieces and nephews are also a big part of my life too. I have watched the oldest grow into a beautiful young adult who can light up a room with her smile and turn anyone’s bad day around with her wonderful laugh. I have seen her brother, my nephew; become a confident and strong boy, who has a soft and tender heart, especially for his momma. He’ll never admit that, but it gives me hope that when my boys become his age they’ll still snuggle up one me the way he does with her! My youngest niece, who happens to be my Goddaughter is only a few months older than Cohen, so watching them grow and develop together has been so incredibly special. I am so proud to be her Godmother!

If that wasn’t enough, Doug’s extended family is also MY family, too! I cherish all of my “cousin-friends”, especially the girls nights J. Every family gathering I have to go down a buffet line of family members to hug, that will make a girl feel really special!

The biggest lesson I have learned is that family is not about who you are related to, but the connections you have with people. I may not have been born into that family, but I am very much a part of it. They give of themselves to lift me up and I give of myself right back to them. They are such an important facet in my life and I am so thankful for their love and friendship!

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