|Centerpieces I made for dinner yesterday.|
It is the day after. After the house was swarming with cousins, sister/brother-in-laws, daughter/son-in-law, children, large and small. The house is tidy, china put away, crystal sparkling in the cupboard, silver, polished, and in it's chest, waiting for the next show time.
I am experiencing a warm glow of the knowledge there are enough left overs in the larder to preclude me from having to think or make dinner tonight. What a lovely sensation.
Family gatherings can wear many faces. The nervous one, the first time you entertain your new in-laws. The tired one, where you have stayed up all night to prepare, the resentful one, that old hurts nursed bring on, and the anxious one, that is paralyzing to one's enjoyment of the event.
My guess is, everyone has experienced some or all of these emotions as they prepare for family gatherings. Yesterday's for me, was a labor of love, a labor of desire to please, and a gift to my husband.
The menu was planned with care by my daughter and I. The setup for tables brought the typical controversy, but was accomplished by moving all of the furniture out of one room into the garage to set up tables, borrowed from my sister to accommodate our family.
Over the years, I have gone from the newest member of my husband's family to part of the family. Which is to say, it is now our family, instead of his family. I have gone from one of the attendees, to one of the contributors. I have gone from not understanding these people, and wondering if I ever would, to loving these people and wondering how I could live without them.
After thirty-eight years, I have much to look back on. I have; made many mistakes, misjudgments, and have often been part of the problem, instead of part of the solution. But I was blessed. My mother-in-law loved me, and I loved her. She taught me much about acceptance, patience, and setting oneself aside, I miss her everyday, now that she is gone from this earth.
So, this Monday morning wash day, I am reflective. I think about how, by saying those powerful words, "I do", all of those years ago, I became part of a wider circle of family then I had ever know before. and how it has changed me, for the better.