Thursday, July 12, 2012

Here, Snipe, Snipe, Snipe!

I'm so incredibly excited!  Next week, Kate and I are hopping in the car and heading to Denver to visit our family for a girls weekend away!

I absolutely LOVE my sister in law.  She is seriously one of the most fantastic women on the planet.  She is so generous, kind, loving and supportive ~ all with a dash of sarcasm, wit and humor!  I always tear up when leaving her and have longed to have her physically closer since the day I met her.  It's not that often that you can meet someone who you instantly connect with and she just so happens to be one of them.

Hubs and I met 20 years ago this month and our first few months together where a bit scarce.  As mentioned in previous posts, he traveled quite a bit.  I was a single mom with a full time job as well.  When our schedules allowed us together, we spent every moment together with Jeremy.  Our little family formed quickly!  Hubs popped the question at Christmas and we planned our wedding to occur 7 months later. 

All this is to say... I met my sister and brother in law just a few days shy of my rehearsal.  They obviously came in town for the wedding.  Nothing like meeting your in-law family right before the vows!  Sure, I'd already met hubs parents.  They were delightful (and still are!).  Very welcoming to me and Jer.  So when Mom called to tell me I was invited to dinner to "meet the family" I was a tad nervous.

Jer in tow, we were to meet hub's sister, her husband, their two kids, hub's brother, his wife and their two kids.  And my new in-law parents.  No biggie.


I was a wreck.  Crap. What do I wear?   What do I have to tell them about my ex (if anything)?  What if they don't like me (or me them?)  What if they don't want their brother to marry a girl with a kid and an ex-husband?  I had no experience with this to pull from.  My family was spread out.  My oldest brother is 14 years older than me and was living in California at the time.  My next brother is 7 years older than me and was married with his/her 3 kiddos here in town.  My parents were divorced.  So really, I had my mom and my brother and his family.  We didn't really have big full family dinners together, other than holiday gatherings.

I arrived at the house in my best trying to give the proper first impression (whatever that is).  They were all very kind, smiling and huggy (which I love) and sweet to Jer (who was 3 at the time). 

We all sat around the living room to chat and get to know each other.  My father in law to be handed me a package.

Dad:  Jen, this is for you.  A small gift from us to welcome you into the family.

Awkward!  I was freaked out.  Opening a gift in front of all these people I just met?  I don't like to open gifts with ANYONE looking at me!

I slowly opened the box and when I saw what was inside I instantly died of embarrassment. 

My hubs and I spent a lot of time camping and floating (canoeing) our first summer together.  In one of our many trips, someone (him?) told me a story about "snipe hunting".  If you have never heard of this ritual, here is the actual dictionary definition:

an elaborate practical joke in which the unsuspecting victim hunts a snipe (a bird) and is typically left in the dark holding a bag and sticks, waiting for the snipe to run into it; in the South a snipe hunt is practically a rite of passage.  

Now, to be fair, I'm certain it was on Saturday night, which any of you that have gone on float trips in Missouri know that's after a LONG day on the river consuming many adult beverages.  So cut me some slack here!

And I believed the story.  Completely.  I believed in this strange bird I had never heard of or seen with my own eyes.  Because I'm terribly gullible and naive.  People never lie, do they?  What a waste of air to lie?  My friends would NEVER lie to me.

So this wonderful family who I tried so hard to impress had played a wonderfully awful practical joke on me.  My father in law, crafty as ever with wood, had made me a custom, personalized set of Snipe Sticks.  They even had handles.  With my name on them. 

I still have the sticks somewhere - I'll have to find them and post a picture!

Everyone erupted in laughter and I wanted to crawl under the couch.

But the most magnificent thing happened.  I loosed up a bit.  I laughed at myself with them.  And I saw the unconditional love unfold right in front of my eyes.  They accepted me.  They loved me not only because I loved their son/brother, but because I was genuinely me.  They love that I'm quirky, opinionated and gullible.  They tease me just like my own brothers would.  They made it perfectly easy to slide right into the family.

So next weekend, Kate and I are off for 48 hours of unconditional love, laughs, smiles and support.  We are going to have SO much fun I can barely wait.  My sis's kids are now 24 and 21 (and she has her OWN daughter in law) and we are going to have a great visit.  We so need a weekend full of laughter!

Have a great Thursday, friends!


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