‘In-Laws’ – a term that just doesn’t say enough

I have written so many times about my own family situation – how my mother isn’t part of my life and how other family relationships have deteriorated over time. Over recent years there hasn’t been a huge amount of consistency in my life as far as my own family are concerned but thankfully LP and Little Man are growing up with a solid family unit and I hope that will continue for years to come.

One aspect of family life that has always been consistent and unwavering has been my husband’s parents. They have been one constant in all of our lives that I am just so thankful for. When you have a broken family yourself you come to appreciate the people in your life so much more – and his parents are part of our lives that I value so much.

But, when I talk about them I always say Dave’s parents or LP and Little Man’s grandparents, their Nanny and Yar-Yar. I avoid using the term my in-laws as much as possible as I really just don’t think it does them justice.

In-laws. Relations because Dave and I got married, family on paper. It seems quite cold and lacking emotion and it really doesn’t sum up what these wonderful people are to us, and what they are to me.

Last year I wrote about how I was taking back Mothers Day and making it a day for me, instead of thinking about people who are no longer around, people who have chosen not to be a part of our lives. But this year I thought I would talk more about the pair of people who mean most to our little family, the people who are worth celebrating at these times of the year. Pauline and Andy, my husband’s lovely parents.

I look back to when I first met them and I admired their relationship and the family they had created – being married for pretty much their whole lives and bringing up two sons to be strong and independent men. They were the typical 2.4 children family and it was something I respected, looked up to and aspired to. It was everything my own family life hadn’t been and it was something I hoped to one day have for myself. Before meeting my husband I didn’t ever think I would get married. I had only ever seen marriage end in divorce and I really think that meeting Dave and seeing his own solid family made me see marriage differently – and made me see it as part of my own future for the first time.

Since that point Dave’s parents have become a massive part of our lives – they are the first people we ask for help, they do so much for us and they are always there if we need them. They have been amazing grandparents to the children, seeing them every week, often more than once a week and will have them for sleepovers, taking them out on adventures and buying them ice creams the size of their heads. They love them, they spoil them and they look after them – and the feeling is mutual. Nanny and Yar-Yar are pretty much LP and Little Man’s favourite people and their home is like another home to the children, it’s one of their favourite places and even going there for an hour or two makes the children so happy.

Dave’s parents are a massive part of our lives and ‘in-laws’ really isn’t enough to describe everything they do and how much they mean to us – how much they mean to me. They are as good as parents to me and without them I would have a huge void in my life. Over the years when my own family have fallen apart Pauline and Andy have been there to fill the gaps, to give support, to listen – and to pour a glass of wine or a gin and tonic! They have been the family that I needed – and they have been the grandparents I always hoped my children would have.

On paper my husband’s parents may be ‘in-laws’ but in reality they are so much more and that term will never come close to doing them justice. Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there but especially Pauline who is as good as a mum to me and an amazing Nanny too.

'In-Laws' - a term that just doesn't say enough

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  • This is beautiful Donna. My SIL is in the same position as you, as she see’s my family just like this. I remember when she came into our family and after a time I remember her telling me how lucky I was. It wasn’t something that I had really thought about until. Yes, I knew I had great parents, but it wasn’t until someone who sadly didn’t have that said how great my parents and our family is. That I now see it with different eyes. She too see’s my mum as her mum and we’ve welcomed her into our family that little bit more. x

  • This is a lovely compliment to your husband’s parents, personally, I haven’t been so lucky with my in-laws, quite frankly I never really hit it off with my first husband’s mother, his father was O.K but died soon after we married, I only met my current husband’s mother once, before she passed and his father passed when my husband was a baby

  • I’m with you on the terminology. Although I do refer to mine as that. Mine are stars, similarly to yours, they’re great grandparents and a great support when needed. It helps that we all get on given that we live about 30 yards from their house.