The Family I Didn't Know I Needed

The Family I Didn't Know I Needed

To so many, our in-laws and spouse's family can be so annoying and frustrating, but to me they are the biggest blessing.

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I've known my wife for a very long time (since we were a little under 2 years old), and I've known her family for just as long, although not quite that well. I knew of them would be more accurate.

When we started seriously dating (not like middle school dating where you get dropped off at a theater and you're scared to death), I was introduced to her entire family. And it's big.

Look, I come from a small white family, because almost all of my grandparents passed before I arrived. I've never been used to massive families, crowded Christmas', or stuff Thanksgivings and reunions. I've never known really what it was like to be showered with love and gifts and opinions. I also never had to figure out what cousin or aunt or uncle everyone else was talking about.

That is not to say that I wasn't loved or blessed growing up. My family (and loved ones from all around the country) took care of me and loved on me so much, and for them I am forever grateful. I also had my church family (my Dad is a Pastor) that literally raised and supported me, and were always there. So please, do not think I am complaining.

I guess what I'm saying is that I just wasn't ready for the acceptance and love that was going to be shown to me from my wife's massive family. It caught me off-guard.

All you hear about is how hard it is to get along with another family and dynamic, but mine couldn't have been more simple and easy. Sure, we really standout. The average height for her immediate family is like 5'6 or so, and I'm 6'4, so you can always tell I'm the married-in one.

But, if I think about it, if I raised and loved on my wife like they did, I'm not sure I would be so okay with another guy jut waltzing into the picture. If I have a daughter (and I really do), it might be hard to invite another BOY into the family. So, I completely understand where they might have had difficulty. But I especially appreciate the love they chose to show me instead.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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I'll Always Appreciate Growing Up Catholic

Peace be with you!

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I was baptized into the Catholic church before I turned 1-year-old so for as long as I can remember I have been a part of the church. Throughout my life, I have gotten a lot of questions and judgment for my faith but it has always stayed strong. I've learned a lot of things by growing up Catholic, things that still stick with me today. I am very appreciative that not only did I learn about how to worship and about Jesus's love, being Catholic has also taught me skills that I can use while at school, work, or in any type of social situation.

One of the major things that were instilled in me growing up in the Church is reading comprehension skills. I can remember being young, probably five or six, and being put in Sunday school. At the time, I hate having to go to school early in the morning on Sundays but during my time in Sunday school, we learned about Jesus and we wrote and drew pictures of things we were learning about. I believe this class helped me better my literacy especially because I was getting extra practice and some of the other kids in my class weren't getting.

Also, during mass, we sing hymns and songs from sheets that they hand out before the service starts. I can remember being next to my dad while he pointed at the words on the paper helped me follow along with the lyrics. This both helped me to be able to read music and to learn new words.

Another thing that I learned growing up in the Church was not to judge others. One of the major things that I was taught through the scriptures and homilies was that Jesus loves everyone, no matter the vices they may have. I was taught at a young age that one of the most important values that one can have is to respect and love others, especially if they don't have the same beliefs as you.

One unexpected thing I learned growing up Catholic was that people can be cruel towards you if they don't like what you believe in. For the most part, people are very respecting of me and my beliefs however, there have been times where people have been very rude to me because of my faith. One time in high school I was having a very innocent conversation with my neighbor, who was one of my closest friends and was also Mormon, about the differences in practices between our two faiths when a girl sitting in front of us (who was not part of the conversation) turned around and started to argue with me about the way in which Catholics practice religion and whether or not it was right.

To say I was angry would be an understatement, but I calmly explained to her my views and experience in the Church. Eventually, one of my other close friends, who was sitting next to her, yelled at her to stop being insensitive towards me.

Not only did this experience help me to stand up for myself and my beliefs, but it also showed me who would be in my corner if I needed them to be. I was extremely grateful for my two friends who stood up for me, they still are two of my closest friends to this day.

Overall, it hasn't been easy to be Catholic, especially with all the abuse of power within the hierarchy of the Church but it is my honest opinion that those men do not define what it means to be Catholic. There are so much love and respect that goes on behind the scenes that many people don't see and I wouldn't change that for the world.

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