20 Jan Trouble with the In-Laws.
Why, hello people I love.
It was September of 2006. I was a fresh 18 years-old and The Man was still kind of a boy, but a super, super freaking hot boy at that. We had been dabbling with becoming “official” and The Man/Boy wanted me to take the plunge and meet his parents.
The thought of this freaked me out a little because: 1. Meeting parents is scary. 2. My last boyfriend before The Man and I broke up because his grandparents were racist. I kid you not. He was like, “Um. I really like you, but you’ll never be able to meet my grandparents.” I was like,” Oh my gosh! Are they sick?! I’m so sorry!” He was like, “No. They just kinda hate black people.” I was like… “Um. Well. I can’t stop being half black, so I’m not sure this is gonna work out.” Lord. Have. Mercy.
So I had a little bit of paranoia with who ever the next guy’s family was gonna be. And then 3. Jeremy’s dad and I sang in some southern gospel competition years before, and I was pretty sure I beat him. So. Basically, I was terrified to meet them.
When I finally did meet them, I spent majority of my energy trying to make a good impression. Jeremy’s mom, Teresa, was this incredibly gorgeous Pocahontas looking woman with the sweetest spirit and the greatest pride in Jeremy. She LOVED her baby boy. Jeremy’s dad Bill was a pastor, a really funny dude, and basically a look into what my future would look like in 25 years if I married his son. As awesome as they were, they still scared the crap out of me.
They made me so nervous. I wanted them to like me so bad. So I did everything I could in my power to impress them and show them how I was the good Christian college girl with her crap together. Of course, when you try that hard, you’re bound to look like an idiot at some point. I remember a few weeks after The Man and I were “official”, I got sick. I went to my mom’s medicine cabinet and looked for some medicine with my name on it. To this day, I’m not real sure what I took…but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my congestion medicine. I had never been high before up until then. I was supposed to drive to the Man’s house, pick him up, and go to church…where I was an intern at the time.
I’m not real sure how I even made it to Jeremy’s house because I was so wasted, I couldn’t walk straight and stand up long. I’m lucky I didn’t end up in the busted papers. I remember sitting on his couch completely stoned out of my mind. Jeremy’s mom was in the kitchen and he and his dad were standing on the balcony fixing something up over me. Bill hollered down to me, “Hey, Haley. Can you toss me that tape measurer?” Tape measurer. What the heck was a tape measurer? Where am I any way? And how did I get here?
I stood up and started looking around looking for whatever a tape measurer was. “It’s on the desk,” Bill said. Desk. What’s a desk? Now I’m starting to panic a little because I feel like I should know what a desk is. Bill is looking at me. He’s gonna wonder why I don’t know what a desk is. I have to get my crap together or this dude is gonna think I’m a crackhead.
Desk. OK, I found it. Where is this tape measurer thing? “It’s that thing your staring at,” Bill says. Crap. I think he’s on to me. I pick the tape measurer up and stare at it. “OK, just throw it up here. I’ll catch it.” I face Bill. He’s in front of me. I prepare myself. Just throw it up there and sit your butt down. You can do this. I aim looking at Bill in front of me. I chuck it as hard as I can. Backwards. I chuck the tape measurer backwards. And I hear a crash. I turn around and realize I have busted their lamp behind me. Nobody says anything. Teresa walks in from the kitchen. I look at her and say, “I’m just a musician,” and sit back down on the couch. I have never, ever been so mortified in my life.
Needless to say, Jeremy drove to church the night. I have no idea what happened at church that night. Bill and Teresa eventually learned I wasn’t a stoner…I assume. I was still always really nervous around them. Then Jeremy got hurt in 2010, and things shifted with us. Jeremy had this life altering injury, and we 3 found ourselves in a situation where we had to work together to walk with him through it. It was probably the scariest time any of us had ever faced. And I think through that time while we were supporting Jeremy, we supported each other. They went from being just Jeremy’s parents to Jeremy’s parents but also my family. And it’s weird, because it’s been 6 years since Jeremy’s accident and we’re back to living normal…but that support and feeling of family has only continued to grow. I was blessed when I married my husband. Not just because I gained him as my forever partner, but because I gained his family.
Now, some of you are rolling your eyes. Not everyone has a good relationship with their in-laws. I get that. To this day, there are times my in-laws still make me nervous. I’m sure we don’t agree 100% on everything in life. But here’s what I’ve learned. In-laws are important. Not just because they affect you, but because of your spouse. Like it or not, these people raised this incredible human being you married. They’re invested in them in a deeper way than most, obviously. As much as you love your spouse, that is their baby. And they love them as hard as you do. So it’s important to understand and respect that. And for your spouse, it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with your in-laws, so you’re not putting them in the middle. Yes, you’re priority now, but that doesn’t mean your in-laws don’t matter. Remember, your spouse loves these people a whole bunch. If there’s stuff you don’t agree on and it’s not directly affecting you or your kids… don’t argue about it. If it does, find a healthy way to communicate about it rather than trashing them to your spouse. Trust and communication are everything. It makes the hard stuff a little easier. Build a good relationship with your in-laws. Not just for you, but for your spouse and your children.
Now. Speaking of in-laws. I’m really, really proud of mine. After over 30 years over local ministry, Bill and Teresa are moving to an island called Eleuthera to be missionaries. They’ll be ministering to the islanders there, training pastors from the Caribbean, and hosting church missionary teams. It’s bittersweet because we’re so proud of and for them, but we’re gonna miss them a lot. Being a missionary isn’t cheap or easy. They have to raise their own funding to make all this happen. But they do it because they know they have to. They have to tell these people about Jesus. I would love for you to go like their Facebook page and share some love and encouragement to them as they get ready to make this insane transition.
Another cool thing you can do is order one of their t-shirts which will help cover their living expenses.
Do that by sending them a personal message on their Facebook page. Tell them I sent you. It’ll make me look good. 😉