Chase was out of town this past week and I've had a lot of time to think about how much I appreciate family. Specifically my family-in-law...
Coming into our marriage I had some pretty high expectations. If you haven't met my parents, Pat and Sherry, well let's just say you're missing out. I'm one of those lucky people who not only love their parents, I like my parents. A lot. Don't get me wrong - they're not perfect people (who is?). But I respect them, I enjoy spending time with them and I actually think they're pretty dang funny. ("Dad's funeral will be a grave affair," said the woman in the pink pajamas...)
Additionally, I have some pretty rockin' siblings and those siblings have gone on to marry equally (if not superior) spouses. It only takes one Christmas Eve party at the Kilgore house to get hooked on my family. They're hilarious, fun and we love each other.
So the cumulative effect of spending time with MY family had the natural result of creating a high standard for my family-by-marriage family.
And they don't disappoint.
I have come to realize that my in-laws, Tori and Tony, are some of the sweetest people God ever put on the earth. And I mean that. They are generous with their time and talents. They loved me since they found out about me while shopping the cereal aisle of their local Wal Mart. When we lived far away they visited us frequently. After moving closer they respect us enough to call before coming. They love our kids as though they were their own. They provide free babysitting more than they probably should or would like to. Their house often ends up being the gathering place on weekends - and though it gets crowded and mom's house gets destroyed, they welcome us with smiles and hugs. They have served as both Blockbuster and grocery store on occasion. They have run countless errands for me when I'm stranded at home with sick kids. The list goes on and on. But what I'm MOST thankful for is the way they raised my sweet, sweet husband. He is a strong provider and a caring father. He is the FIRST and ONLY man to consistently open my door for me. He is the best companion I could ever ask for. And I'm no dummy. I know he learned it somewhere. So THANKS TBoss and TBull. And may I say, Job Well Done.
And though this is starting to resemble an Oscars acceptance speech I have to also add that I married into some great siblings as well. Seven years ago it was just Brian, Eric and Garrett. Brian was fresh from his mission, Eric was making girls swoon in high school and Garrett was a floppy-haired imp. Now Brian and Eric are married to girls I ADORE and LOVE spending time with - easily some of my best friends on the planet. And Garrett is off on a mission - setting an example for my boys that I will forever be grateful for. Brian, Jen, Eric, Kathleen, Garrett. I love you. Tons! Thanks for being so freakin' radical. And thanks for having such radical kids for my kids to play with.
And the good times don't end there! We're super-extra lucky that we have Chase's grandma and Aunt and Uncle and cousins here, too. We have so much fun with Grandma Cleora, Susan, Kevin and Brandon and Danielle. Summer pool-parties, monthly birthday dinners, and the occasional sleep-over. Cameron, Miles and Sophia are blessed to have cousins who love them and play babysitter during family dinners. Actually, I think that's more a blessing for me than it is for them. When they're around I can actually converse with other adults. It's practically a miracle:)
So there you have it. My in-law Texas family. There are more - the Johnsens and the Rawlins clans are both extensive and full of fun. We love them all.