The past couple of days have been better, really better — not “everything is perfect” better, but “hey I’m sure glad that crappy day is over” better. My in-laws, rather than being shocked and angry at the state of my house (and me) on the horrible day were very nice. They took Connor for a weekend visit, and yesterday my father-in-law brought over a swingset, set it up, and mowed our lawn for us. We had one of Connor’s friends over last night; they had a blast playing on the slide and swings until it was too dark and cold to do anything but sleep, and we’ve already been outside for an hour this morning.
An aside: If you have kids and need a workout? Get a swingset. Half an hour of pushing 40 pounds of kid on five pounds of swing, running under and around the swings, chasing your kid up the slide, and generally being goofy will kick your ass. It’s great.
It’s also great to finally feel like I get along with my in-laws. I don’t know what’s changed — I know I’ve been trying to be less uptight; I have no clue what changed on their end — but it’s such a relief. When we picked Connor up yesterday I caught sight of a framed picture on their living-room cabinet: a picture of Connor, Michael, my mother-in-law… and me. It’s the first time a picture with me in it has been displayed in my in-laws’ house, and it was nice to see. It was also nice to sit down and have an actual conversation with my mother-in-law, which I would never have said (or done) a year ago. We talked about Connor’s potty-training, and gossiped about the recent trend toward shoddy mainstream parenting, and looked through a Christmas catalog, and not once did one of us feel slighted or try to work in a backhanded compliment.
We are, slowly, making a family — one that is not just Michael, me, and Connor, but includes our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles. I’ve wanted this for Connor ever since he was born; one of the reasons I didn’t just cut Michael’s parents off completely was that I was determined for Connor to grow up with a full complement of grandparents and extended family. I didn’t think about it then, but you know what? It’s nice for me, too.