28 November 2011

An open letter to my Sister-in-Laws

Dear SIL (any of y'all), newly married sister, friends with kids younger than mine, first-time moms, moms with kids in public school all day, moms I judged when I was a new mom, and other women I know:

Hello. You may remember me, I'm that homeschooling mother of four you see once in a while. I desperately want to get to know you better, and create a real relationship with you, but try as I might, I am not making much headway on that front. I feel bad putting you on my schedule (Tuesday, call SIL; Wednesday, call sister; Thursday, homeschool; Friday, clean house) but since we don't have a daily relationship, I feel that I must. I tried to send you a text or FB comment, but I'm not persistent. How do I create relationships so we each have more support?

I grew up in a family that was widespread geographically. Really, on the map we covered the eastern seaboard with sprinklings of aunts and uncles across the midwest. But physically, also, growing up my siblings  and I had our own rooms. Big deal, you say, but I seem to credit that with our distance. Is it true? I dunno, but I know we came and went and had our own friends and our own activities. My husband tells the story of how he came to the house to get me and found all five of my family members reading in five different rooms. At first, I took pride in this story- see, look, we didn't have the TV on! But later as my own kids got older I asked Why didn't we spend that time together, even if it was just reading in the same room?

Why didn't I try harder then to create impenetrable bonds between us? Because I was a self-absorbed teenager. Now, when my siblings and I are older, I am saddened that it is sometimes such an effort to talk to them. It's hard to get the conversation rolling when I don't know what's been going on lately!

We have to start somewhere. So, here you go. I will try to call more often. I will invite you to our house. I will try to set aside some ga$ money to come visit you. I will find out your kids' birthdays and send them/you a note, and maybe one day I'll know you and your philosophies well enough to know what to send. You could answer the phone when I call, text me back, or FB msg me yourself as well. Cause I really want to get to know you.

I'm not as scary as my husband seems to say I am.

(hee hee, that's really me! I love it.)

Ok, real story. My sister-in-law and step-mother-in-law came up to shop at an IKEA that's near us. I am having SIL anxiety- no one ever comes to my house. 

The plan is for them to come over with lunch and leave the toddler with me and take the baby (the one that bursts into tiny infant tears when I talk to her) to IKEA. I am frantically cleaning the house (calmly) because I remember being a young mother of a  toddler and an infant and thinking my friend's house was too messy (she had three kids under 4 at that time).  

My eight year old stops me as I jog up the steps with dirty dish towels to ask thoughtfully "Mom, why can't we say f**k?" Oooooh. After a quick chat ... crutch of the inarticulate.... my three-nearly-four year old flings open the sliding door and welcomes our guests with a gleeful "the house is cleeeeen!" as if that fact deserved such an announcement. 

What do any of these ramblings even mean? I don't know!! I know a few points I keep thinking of, and I keep poorly trying to draw connections between them. What are these elusive points? My husband says I can be intimidating. I didn't have a lot of examples to follow on how to make friends. I went to private school with the same 18 kids my whole childhood and never had to meet new people. I'll have to tell you the story of how I pinned down two women (figuratively, of course) and forced them to be friends with me a few years ago. Ack! I'm so awkward! I am scared that women I'm in faux relationship with think I'm judging them. I am just a sinner covered by grace who remembers her pride and mistakes and doesn't expect anything from anyone- I'm just willing to extend grace and I'm afraid that that grace won't be extended to me. I guess!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and I would love to hear from you through comments! Teresa (Tracy) Dear