Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The In-Laws

No, not the movie, although it's appropriate for my life this week in Weddingville.

The machatunim will be the first to arrive in town for the festivities. 

The who?  The what? Once again, Yiddish comes to the rescue with a word for the parents of your child's spouse... your kid's in-laws.  Shouldn't a language which has created linguistic contortions like Muzak and Ms (no punctuation, please) be able to come up with a word for that relationship?  I'm just sayin'.......

I knew I liked them before I met them; my girl would go up from school to visit and return to Bloomington calmed and well-fed. What more could a Jewish mother ask?

She slept in on Sunday mornings or joined them at church, enjoying the music and the family time. She's a questioner, my girl, and his parents were always willing to answer.  For a kid who grew up without formal religious training, it's all new and something to be examined and explored.  His regular life adds new dimensions to hers, with no effort at all. It's a parent's fantasy come true.

Last year we laughed when I pointed out that our kids are probably the only couple whose mothers were each sporting Cub's gear in their profile pictures on Facebook.  We comment on the same posts and send smiley faces or hugs at the same time.  We didn't know one another before, but that doesn't seem to matter.  We've ended up in very similar places.

We're both Master Gardeners, though her thumb is decidedly greener than mine. Our extra-efforts are directed toward schools and little kids and our husbands and we're not embarrassed to admit it.  She updates her pictures more often than I do; she and Big Bob have their arms around one another, more often than not.

That's exactly the kind of example I am glad that SIR had set for him as he was learning what it means to be a husband. I have no doubt; my girl is in good hands.

In the movie, Alan Arkin, a mild mannered New Jersey dentist, starts out terrified and ends up enraptured after an impromptu vacation with Peter Falk, a CIA operative with a wobbly relationship to the truth..... or maybe not.  The two could not have been more disparate but it didn't matter; their kids were getting hitched and so were the families.  What started out as a favor for the machatunim ended up in front of a firing squad... but you'd better see the movie to fully appreciate the journey Arkin takes from skepticism to appreciation. 

We showed it at Who's Beth's bridal shower back in the 1980's.  I liked it then and I like it now because it's a wedding movie where the wedding is the least important part of the film.  Instead, it's the relationships, the emotional connection, the trust and the belief that, when push comes to shove, you've just inherited a whole new set of people who've got your back.

When MOTG's grandsons sent me get well cards ("I am sorry you got shot" is still my favorite sentiment... thanks, boys!) I knew that she was hovering over the spelling and the drawing. I could feel the love.  She knew that there was nothing that she herself could do; SIR was there representing her part of the team and that was enough..... but not.... not for someone like us... so she went to the kids and filled my heart with joy.  At a time when I worried that I'd become toxic to children, she sent me little boy love.  Those cards were taped to the hospital walls, right at the foot of my bed, comforting me.

Most important, she loves my girl and thinks her boy made a very smart decision when he asked for her hand in marriage.  That's enough, right there.

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