Shoe Porn, and some thoughts for my sister

 

We leave Tuesday afternoon for my sister-in-law’s wedding in upstate New York. I have many many many things to do before departure, including rescuing my bridesmaid’s dress from the dry cleaner and cleaning the house (which, you know, I recognize is not a must but I can’t stand returning from vacation to a messy home, although I don’t mind it the rest of the time so go figure), buying favors for the shower and, of course, etcetera etcetera etcetera. This wedding has been relatively smooth sailing although it certainly has had its bumps in the road, but today I don’t want to talk about those bumps. Today I want to talk about M, my sister-in-law who this time next week will be waking up  on the day of her rehearsal dinner. And then show you my fabulous shoes.

I grew up only having a brother. A great brother, the perfect brother for me, certainly, and I never really wanted a sister. I watched some of my friends and their relationships with their sisters and they so often seemed fraught and competitive – D and I always had different activities and different friends and so the competition was pretty limited. I knew S.’s sisters well before we became engaged, and we were always friends, but we all began regarding one another differently once I was part of the family. No getting rid of one another now.

M. could have been circumspect. She could have criticized, or maintained her distance, or settled into a comfortable, see-you-once-a-year relationship with me. She could have thought I wasn’t good enough for her big brother, or any manner of things. Instead, she immediately began writing me emails and signing them, Love, Your sister. At family gatherings, when S. and his dad would spend time together, she took me shopping or to the movies or out to eat. She, and his other sister (also M, but we’ll call her V for her middle name), who is ten years younger than I, have never once made me feel like a third wheel in their home, or unwelcome. A couple of times I haven’t attended family events, usually for work purposes but also because I grew up believing that it’s nice, sometimes, to just spend time with your nuclear family. My mom pointed out once that daughters always make a special effort to come home alone, but sons always bring their wives, so I have tried to encourage S. to see his family alone occasionally, so they can fall into themselves without an interloper around.

What I learned is, his family isn’t like mine.  At all. When I don’t attend, nobody is ever angry with me, but M and V call me, tell me they miss me, they say how much better it would be if I were there. When I share my reasoning with them, they pooh-pooh it, they say, you are family now. Shut up. Don’t ever punk out again.

M is mostly responsible for this simply because V is so much younger than the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong, V. is  an amazing, talented young woman, but M is the one who taught me how to be a good sister-in-law, who, in fact, taught me to take the in-law part right of my thinking.

It has been pointed out to me that I am about two-thirds truthful on this blog from friends who know me in real life and that is certainly true. I write what I am comfortable believing anyone might read. To be fair, I think my comfort level is pretty significant, but I don’t tend to air things like family arguments or struggles with certain relationships or anything like that.  And so I don’t want to pretend my relationship with my in-laws, sisters and parents included, has been an emotional shangra-la because it certainly hasn’t. It has taken me eight years of marriage and twelve years of knowing them to finally feel like we all fit together. Growing into a new family is hard, painful at times. And quite frankly, I can be a lot to absorb. I think it’s a very good thing S.’s family had eight years to adjust to me – M.’s fiancee should have a cakewalk.

Anyway. On Tuesday S. and I leave for several days of festivities honoring M. and her man, and I wanted to write something that could do her justice. Something that could capture what I know about M, but it’s proving enormously difficult. She’s the kind of person hard to capture in a blog description, I guess, so instead I’ll just say, thank you, M, for staying up late and watching movies, for lending me books you never ask if I liked or not, for hosting me in your home even when S. couldn’t come, for letting me into your family and your life so easily, for always sending a birthday present on time, for flying from Houston for S.’s graduation even when you could have used the vacation time towards your honeymoon, for emailing me every week and most of all for teaching me how to be a good sister and even more than that, thank you for giving me the excuse to buy the below shoes that go with my bridesmaid dress,  and which I have been wearing around my apartment all week long, practicing the charleston and the shag in preparation for your party. And I wish you a long and happy marriage full of music and good food and wild adventures, but on the off off chance that doesn’t happen know, too, that I am here, regardless.

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13 Responses to Shoe Porn, and some thoughts for my sister

  1. auntjone says:

    What a very sweet post! And what awesome shoes!

    I must admit I didn’t have the whole getting-to-know-you deal with my in-laws because I’ve known J. and his family since I was 3 years old. Our families were already meshed in some ways and we just continued that meshing when we started dating and eventually married. It is amazing to realize that I have always, and will always, know him.

    I always wanted a baby brother but never got one. Hmph.

  2. lilalia says:

    I have six Italian sister-in-laws and with one of them I have a similar relationship as you do with M. which I treasure in its heartfelt sympathies. Your shoes are stunning. If they were made of glass they could be Cinderella’s shoes. And even though they do not look like dancing shoes, I hope you have plenty time to enjoy romantic dance, song, and laughter.

  3. Make Tea Not War says:

    Gorgeous shoes. I’m about 1/8th truthful on my blog. I don’t lie but it’s an extremely partial view of me and my life. I get on very well with my one sister in law- the other one, well, not so much.

  4. Becky says:

    Lovely post and fab shoes. I find it hard dealing with family at al, since my own is so dysfunctional that we barely relate in a familial way. My husband’s family have always been enormously welcoming, whereas I’m the one standing back and circling warily.

  5. noble savage says:

    Great shoes!

    Your sis-in-law sounds really lovely, you’re very lucky. Too often these days I just hear horror stories of people not getting along, tearing each other’s hair out and hating one another. It’s nice to know that some families really do play nice. 🙂

  6. Charlotte says:

    Gosh, those shoes. I’m hyperventilating here.

    I have always wanted a sister, and since I have one brother and three step-brothers, I have always expected that one would turn up. There are signs of marriage afoot, so it looks like I might be in luck. I just hope the relationship will be as good as the one you describe with M. I wish her all the best in her marriage.

    As for being not completely frank in your blog, I am also circumspect and keep large chunks private. I think that’s perfectly acceptable.

  7. Emily Barton says:

    What a lovely tribute to your sister-in-law, and lucky you to be blessed with good ones. And aren’t we all sort of “half people” online? I lose interest when people bare too much of themselves. A little bit of mystery is always a good thing. Oh, and those shoes? Love them!

  8. Andi says:

    Gorgeous post. I hope someday I can say I’ve had a similar experience. One should only be so luck to have a sister-in-law like M from the sounds of it. And those shoes are BEAUTIFUL! I feel all princessy just looking at the pics.

  9. Litlove says:

    Brothers and sisters in law are good relatives, I think, because they can be friends without being intimates. Family sometimes knows you too well, in-laws have that bit more distance which makes for better behaviour. Lovely post, Courtney, great shoes, and have a wonderful time at the wedding.

  10. qugrainne says:

    This was a lovely post on your relationships – relatives turned friends. And yes, one must be very, very careful about posting ‘real life’ on blog.

    The shoes? Gorgeous!! My daughter has at least 75 pair of shoes (one is constantly tripping in my house). I am trying to catch up, because shoes just make me feel so special (unless they pinch – then I just don’t buy them, not matter how good they look).

    I hope the trip/wedding is lots of fun, and the ceremony makes you cry.

  11. Courtney says:

    Aunt Jone – aw, little brothers are the best. I think every girl should have one.
    Liliana – I am holding out great hope for their dancability – there surely will be a report.
    Ms. Make Tea – I think that’s why I can blog for as long as I have…i never put everything on the table.
    Charlotte – you know, I actually thought of you when I posted the pics…fellow shoe lover that you are!
    Emily – I am looking forward to our eventual meeting in person so we are no longer half people to one another!
    Andi, they are princessy, aren’t they?
    Litlove, thank you! And you are right, I probably cherish my sister in laws so much because they don’t know every blessed thing about me…
    Qugrainne – so far these shoes don’t pinch at all but I have a feeling time will tell on saturday…

  12. oh says:

    The shoes! awesome! and the heartfelt entry that goes along with the fashion pic is lovely.
    Surely a wonderful weekend (bookworthy?) will ensue. Hope you have time to write about it.

  13. How nice to see people getting along like this- all part of a bigger family. What you wrote is the way it should be ideally, but it’s not easy to accept someone new into your family- I’m glad it’s worked out so well.

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