Would it be shameful of me to do the Happy Dance now that my in-laws are gone...? Even though there was a tearful goodbye at 5:45 this morning, I am relieved to be sitting here in my jammies typing this and not worried that we have to cook, clean or entertain a small army of extended family. Am I bad or evil for feeling this way...? Maybe I need to further explain how the past 8 weeks have been so you might just get a better understanding of why, though sad to see my darling mother in-law go (and father in-law, though I don't think I really know him any better than I did 12 years ago when I first met him)..of why I feel I can breathe a huge sigh of relief...
My mother in-law likes to cook...alot...and by alot I mean ALOT of food. To feed an army. She obviously knew there would be a small one coming on a regular basis to eat at our Farmhouse Diner. While I watched as my Mother in-law worked her magic in my kitchen, I (mistakenly) insisted that since she cooked, I would do clean up. Well, the first few weeks wasn't so bad...so what if I was still up at 11p.m. scrubbing pots and pans and vacuuming and mopping up the floor? Who cares that we would start all over again in about 8 hours? I diligently cleaned and stacked my pots and pans every night back in their neat little places so my kitchen looked picture perfect each morning.
After about the 3rd or 4th week of this it dawned on me to let my normal, neat freak fanatic slide a bit. Why was I torturing myself..? So I conceded and would only stack the clean pots and pans on top of the stove. Okay, I could give in and just ignore the mound-o-pots and pretend they weren't there. Now to do something about the floor...hmm...okay, well I won't mop every night...just lightly vacuum & spot mop. What about those counters?...so what if I could barely see them underneath the stacks of foreign ingredients and special herbs she used on a regular basis. She was cooking wonderful meals, right?
When she wasn't cooking, she was sewing at the kitchen table. She sewed alot. While I was also the receiver of most of these sewing projects my fingers were itching to toss the darn machine out the window! My kitchen table looked like an upholstery warehouse. Bits and pieces of fabric & thread that floated and traveled through the rest of the house as you walked by. But most of my anguish over my normally, quite orderly home, would be forgotten as she cranked out yet another wonderful pillow or finished my drapes for me.
My mother in-law is a wonderful, caring, generous person but she only has one pace....S L O W. There is no fast forward with her, there is only slow motion. Times & schedules don't really exist with her. Doesn't sound so bad, right? well, the only teeny problem with that, while her blood pressure maybe on an even keel, everyone around her is on overdrive trying to overcompensate. And I never thought I would say this but I HATED shopping... with her... and 3 kids. To her, the stores we take for granted and visit on a regular basis (Target, Walmart, Homegoods) were like treasure hunts for her. She would finger all the towels, read the backs of all the packages & stare for a good 10 minutes at one item while my 3 bored kids would be screaming & fighting, and with me about to cry and tear my hair out, would wait for her to make up her mind or catch up to us (yes, I would get so frustrated that I would walk away, do my shopping and come back while she was still fingering the towels.) I smartened up and would send my husband out with his Mama to do any shopping and then chuckle when he would return home, red faced & fully frustrated.
Now on to the extended family. My husband is the oldest of 12 kids. Some live here and some still live & attend school in Mexico (the youngest is 15). I was under the impression that my in-laws visit would be divided amongst the family so everyone would have their opportunity to visit. Wellll, that's not how it happened. My father inlaw is a farmer, raises cows & crops on his little ranch in Mexico. He doesn't like cities. Period. He refused to leave our ranch to visit with his other offspring. So guess what that meant..? Word of my in-laws visit spread like wildfire! Yep, everyone of the family came to our home with their families to visit and stay the weekends with us. There were people sleeping on the floor, on the couches, on blow up mattresses that some, I still don't know their names or how they were related but here they were!
...And don't think I didn't have private meltdowns in my room or hushed conversations with my husband that he better do something QUICK! Poor guy, he was more stressed out than I was. I got to fade into the background and secretly "cringe" at all the "darling" toddlers teetering toward my antique lamps/china/& other breakables, while I would try to redecorate my home with all my valuables up as high as I could place them.
Don't get the wrong idea...I love my Mother in-law. Absolutely. I had a lovely time with her. She cooked, she sewed, she prayed for us. I learned many things and got a new perspective on life & family and I think she did as well. My husband laughingly told me that his mother was voicing her opinion quite often with her husband to which the husband replied "I think you are hanging around Loraina (the spanish pronounciation of my name, Laurie)too much!" And I know she loves me too.
So while I am sad that they are gone, I am also relieved to get back to my normal, ordinary, neat freak fanatic self. The self that wants her house back to normal like Better Homes & Gardens might unexpectedly drop by begging for a photo shoot (one can dream, right?) or I might, by chance, win Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes (though I never enter, but you never know -could be a computer malfunction and it randomly picks my name from online shoppers data bases) and how horrible would it be if my house was a mess on live television!? :) (I apologize if this sounds superficial, but having a disorderly house overwhelms, stresses and other wise makes me feel claustrophobic)
I did come away with a new understanding and gratefulness of how wonderful my life is/was before my summer of in-laws. There's no place like being home...in my jammies, typing away on my computer , hiding & locking the front door and perhaps ordering take out...for the next month!
Can I do the Happy Dance..? Nah, I'm too tired! :)
**Once I get said house in order, I will post pics of all the lovely sewing bits courtesy of my Mother -inlaw.**