Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘in-laws

Far Away

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img_ip1886eThis feels so far away from home. Breakfast on the lanai by the pool in shorts and a t-shirt is so mind-bogglingly different from my normal routine that I feel like this is a dream. Well, it is a dream, actually. We are living the dream.

Besides power-lounging the day away, the most work I did involved figuring out how to connect Fred and Marie’s smart TV to the internet so they could watch shows on Amazon Prime, and then helping Fred put air in his bike tires.

He hadn’t ridden the bike for about 2 years, but Marie told him other visitors have been using the bikes every year. He wanted to take a little ride, so we just added some air and off he went.

When we next saw him again an hour or so later, he reported he had gone for a short bike ride followed by a long walk. His front tire had blown out. First, he reported noticing a ticking sound as the wheel turned round and round. Then it POPPED!img_ip1889e

Forensic analysis revealed a failure in the sidewall of the tire. The inner tube had ballooned out and was rubbing the brake with each revolution, until the rubber tube burst.

Turned out to be a pretty impressive level of activity for the guy turning 80 this weekend.

Otherwise, the afternoon became a blur of card games, napping, and floating in the pool. Cyndie served Barry and Carlos drinks by the pool.

Around dinner time, the surprises for Fred continued as Cyndie’s brother, Steve arrived. Then, after dessert had been served, her last brother, Ben appeared with his wife, Sara. The last secret had been revealed and the kids were all present.

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We sat around the table sharing life stories and lost our breath in laughter multiple times. Fred shared a memory of his 60th birthday when the kids all showed up for a surprise gathering on a ski vacation in the mountains out west. That year, they left spouses at home.

Cyndie and I have been married for 35 years and had dated off and on for 7 years before that, so I recognized plenty of the tales that were being recollected. Reliving the many stories reveals a weird combination of my being part of the family, but not being one of the family. I’m here, but I’m not as here here as they are, if that makes any sense.

One thing that is clear, we are noticeably far away from our home in Wisconsin right now.

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Written by johnwhays

January 20, 2017 at 7:00 am

In-Law Jackpot

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It was at Christmastime about 34 years ago that I embarked on the first steps of a journey that has proved to be more remarkable than I dreamed would be possible for me. I won the in-law lottery. I hit the jackpot. I will never comprehend what it was like for Cyndie’s parents to deal with the fact that I had asked for permission to marry their daughter —their first-born child, for heaven’s sake— but for me it was just a mind-numbing step in my magical journey of life.

Sometimes when I think back on it, I feel astounded that they said yes. I owe Fred and Marie Friswold more appreciation than I have been able to convey. How can I adequately express what it has meant to me to be accepted into their family? The immensity of my gratitude is beyond what I have ever thought to speak.

FredMarieDSC02641From that very day when I asked for their blessing to take Cyndie’s hand in marriage —when Marie’s first response came out as shock that I was asking her while she was in the middle of untangling Christmas lights— I have fallen short of telling them what they have deserved to hear.

Once again, I resort to writing. It is my preferred means. I figured maybe I would get a Christmas card for them and write a heart-felt note. Thinking about what I should write, I realized it would probably need to be a letter. That quickly led to this: a blog post. Even though they are humble enough to likely favor I had stuck with the card idea, I would like to profess my appreciation for them to the world.

It’s not like the years have been without turmoil. I am embarrassed for the number of times I failed to mask my preference to be back among the Hays way of doing things when in the midst of all things Friswold. It has always turned out to be a small price to pay. For the most part, I have been blessed with the opportunity to bask in the greatness that Fred and Marie create. Their generosity and patience is immeasurable. They have taken me to places I never thought possible, and provide never-ending support to me, Cyndie’s and my marriage, and to our children. Their acceptance and support of me is a precious gift I treasure more than any other.

Christmas is a particularly special time when their saintliness shines. They care for others with boundless benevolence. I always receive from them more than what I feel I deserve, but that is not how they measure their giving.

Fred and Marie have succeeded in the art of family where so many others have failed. It is a wonder to behold and an amazing thing to experience first hand, as their son-in-law. I owe them credit for more than I can grasp about who I am and what I have experienced.

Either written or spoken, what they mean to me really is greater than words. If you are reading this, I hope you have a sense of how blessed I feel and an inkling of the grandiosity of jackpot with which I have been blessed. I hope Fred and Marie will sense that I am more grateful to them than I ever have been, or ever will be able to say.

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Written by johnwhays

December 20, 2014 at 11:27 am