Monday, June 21, 2010

The Women On My Walk #4 - My Sisters-In-Law

Grandad is the middle of three brothers. Their wives are an important part of Grams' support system. There are some things that no one else understands like Nancy and Jeanne. Any time the three of us get together, we have so much fun. We can laugh with and at each other like no one else. 

All three of our husbands are wonderful men and great husbands and fathers. But they are men! And when I need to vent and let off steam about my husband, there is no one who understands better than my sisters-in-law. They get it because they live it. We share a common bond that surpasses understanding.  

Gary is the eldest brother. He and Nancy were high school sweethearts. They were the first to marry and had the first grandchild. They had already been married a couple of years when Grandad and I started dating. We started doing things together right away. Nancy will tell you exactly what she thinks, but she always sees the best in people and expects the best from them. Sometimes, when I'm complaining about one person or another, she will point out that maybe they can't really help the way they are or didn't mean it the way I took it. Nancy and Gary are our movie buddies. The first thing we ever did with them was go to see "Young Frankenstein" at the movies. More than 30 years later, weekends often still find the four of us taking in the latest box office release. We go to church together and usually have brunch together on Sundays. I have marveled at her strength in dealing with some very tough challenges presented by raising her children. She faced them with grace and a smile. Just for the record, she likes really hot jalapenos and she can eat them by themselves and she likes tequila shots ... straight up.

Danny is the youngest of the three brothers. He and Jeanne met at Texas A&M University and they married shortly after they graduated. They live in the DFW area so we only get to see them a few times a year. Jeanne is the mother of two twenty-something young men. Nothing phases her. She holds her own in a household full of "man stuff" including, but not limited to, guns, knives, and farting. When they were in college, in keeping with the Aggie tradition, she could drink with the best of them. Honestly, I think that may have been one of the things that first attracted Danny to her. A few years ago, when she realized that she needed a career change, she went back to school and got certified in surgical technology. She's the person who hands the correct tools to a surgeon. She'll still have a beer with the guys and, over the years we've shared a few cocktails. And she makes absolutely the best sugar cookies I've ever eaten.

The three of us have talked each other through many of life's crises. We've cried on each others shoulders while raising our kids and putting up with our husbands. We've comforted each other in dealing with aging and dying parents and yes, I'll admit it, dealing with our husbands' family. We have encouraged each other, comforted each other, drank together, shopped together, gossiped together, eaten together, and traveled together. We've often been left behind when our husbands have gone hunting, fishing and golfing, but we have also tagged along. No matter where they take us, the three of us always have a good time together. 

My absolute favorite get-aways are the times the six of us spend together. My sisters-in-law understand things that no one else does. They get my stories. Heck, sometimes they have the same stories. I love these two women like I love my own sisters. We have a common bond. We commiserate with each other ... we understand each other ... we like each other ... we stand together ... we support our husbands. We are much more than sisters-in-law ... we are sisters and friends.  

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