As we wrap up eleven years…

Today we complete eleven years of marriage.

I look back on the last 11 years and I’m at a bit of a loss for once. How does one encapsulate them?

I gained a husband but he came by himself. No family. No baggage. Not the desi way.

And when the family came, it was not pleasant. But then one doesn’t really expect pleasantness when the resistance to the marriage lead to one party having to leave home.

I’ve cried on your virtual shoulders and said things in public that I wish I hadn’t.

But what’s done can’t be undone.

This year I finally gained the family he was born into. It’s been gradual and I’ve mentioned it to you. But only now am I confident enough to say the words out loud.

It’s been a tough march.

We started off with daggers drawn and things only got worse. Accusations, counter accusations, unpleasant public scenes, harsh words.

We made up and broke up. And then again. It was like the ebb and flow of the tide.

But over the last couple of years we’ve patched things up and done a fair job of it. The patchwork isn’t ugly – it’s like an old handmade quilt. Ratty, but comfortable.

We have our off days, we sort things out.

My FIL falls asleep while watching TV and I quietly get a blanket to tuck around him. We go to attend a family wedding and he looks around at the other ladies and then suddenly turns and looks at me with pride and does something no one has done in years – pinches my cheek.

He makes a rather patriarchal statement regarding the babies and I fight him tooth and nail. One of us usually relents. More often than not, it’s him.

My MIL, on the other hand has grown into a friend. We chat quietly over a cup of tea, exchange family gossip. Plan the dinner menu. Well, she plans while I battle deadlines at work. She has tears in her eyes when she’s leaving and she hugs me, not letting go until the OA gently pushes her towards the car with a reminder that she’s getting late. I love you, sweetheart, she says.

I grin. And we send each other flying kisses at the exact same moment.

The OA says I’m an approval seeker. He’s right. I don’t like it when people don’t like me. I’m Monica.

To know me, is to love me, I say with teeth clenched. And I get back to figuring out what I have to do to make things better. To smooth over the rough edges. To.Make.It.Work.

The last eleven years have not brought professional recognition or accolades. They’ve not brought money.

But I’ve invested a lot of time in this little family of mine. And a lot of effort. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I chose to fake it until I could make it, but it worked.

I often wish I’d had their blessings when we got married. It would have been so much easier on a young couple who anyway had to make the many other adjustments that marriage demands. I wish the OA had not felt alone and vulnerable. I wonder if he questioned his decision as he signed the dotted line. I wonder how it must have hurt to have my parents stand by us at a receiving line, but not his.

But I’m glad we’re here today. I’m glad I didn’t start off as a welcomed, accepted bride and grow to hate them as is often the case.

I’m glad we started at the lowest point in our relationship because the only way from there was up. Expectations were rock bottom and anything we get from each other today, is a bonus.

People always say the grandchildren bring change. But I think that is unfair to the hard work that goes into making things work. Change comes only when both sides want it and yes, the grandchildren are a good incentive.

But the look in my husband’s eyes when he walks in from work and finds his parents, kids and wife crowded in on his bed, having tea and laughing, is one I’ll not forget in a hurry. For once he doesn’t even chastise us for the biscuit crumbs on the counterpane.

I don’t want to jinx it, but I couldn’t not share this with you, could I?

I’m sure we’ll have our rough moments again, but I finally know what it is to be accepted by them. And this time I’ll have the incentive to work and bring things back to this point.

My eleventh anniversary gift to the OA?

A complete family and peace.

Which is a good thing, because I’m too broke to give him much else this year.

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61 thoughts on “As we wrap up eleven years…

  1. Lovely lovely post…..congratulations on your 11st Anniversary….And the gift you gave is the most priceless one!! Here’s wishing you guys more and more happiness!! Stay blessed!!

    -Bhavani

  2. Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary! And God bless you both! I just stayed up till midnight to read your post 😉. And thanks to people like you I now believe more strongly than ever, that love is not all we need; Love is all there is!!😘

  3. Here after a loooooong time! Wishing you and OA many more anniversaries. Read a few posts about the bean’s health.. sending her a lot of love, wish her health improves. The brat… is he still in love with dinosaurs??

    • Hey! I missed you. Glad you’re back. And no, the brat has moved on to other animals. His current obsession is dogs and I cannot tell you how he’s driving us up the wall!

  4. Congrats on your 11th and the warming of relations with the in-laws. Was just talking to a friend the other day about how eventually parents do come around, though yeah, it does take hard work and a forgiving heart.

  5. Happy eleventh, you two! I had a lump in my throat when you told us the story, and it happened all over again. This one hits too close to home.. I’m really happy for you guys 🙂
    Big fat (sweaty, summer) hugs from me to all of you..

  6. Hugggs! May God bless your family with more love!
    I grew up without grandparents and uncles and aunts always around. Family was duty…my parents mixed marriage not accepted by paternal gran the reason. So when i met my husband, i was wary about inlaws. But wistful about what i could have had when i heard about his big extended family and summers with cousins in their grandparents home. I got off to a wary start with my inlaws as i didnt know different, bu have to credit my husband and mil for giving me space, and forgiving my assertiveness bordering rebellious attitude…and my sils for accepting me as one of them. Wish i could say the same for my fil…but then it wd be a kjo movie eh? I am glad my kids have loving relationship with both grandparents. Only wish mil fil would live with us for good. But mil insists that she will when she cant do it by herself, right now she feels distance keeps the fondness…..maybe she is wary of me from our earlier interactions….so i keep working on it…like u said i never thot i wd say that my mil and mom are on par in my heart…but am surprised that its pretty close to that. Will it get kjo perfect i wonder……

  7. Aww, MM. Happy anniversary to the both of you. You made such beautiful babies (yes, yes, i always come back to the babies :D). Here’s wishing you a 100 more.

  8. Hurrah and Cheers MM. I’m toasting you from the bay area with a full glass of OJ in hand(OJ is your and mine stand in for darru innit?)

    SBs(ask your hubby if you didn’t get that) are a tough lot. Curmudgeonly, traditional, conservative and the whole shebang:-) but loving folks when u finally get in.

  9. But the look in my husband’s eyes when he walks in from work and finds his parents, kids and wife crowded in on his bed and laughing, is one I’ll not forget in a hurry.

    This is everything :). A complete family at peace. Wow, I had tears reading this. And Happy Anniversary !!!

  10. Happy eleventh anniversary, MM and OA! 🙂

    Such a beautiful post! I could totally relate to it.. have had moments like the ones you describe with the in-laws. 🙂 Am so glad they and you finally made peace with each other.

  11. Dear MM,
    Many many happy returns of the day..
    awesome post –
    “A complete family and peace” summed it up really well exactly as how we all want it 🙂

    GOD bless u and the dear family..
    how are OA’s in laws ?

    Sujatha

  12. Happy eleventh anniversary.
    I dont remember when, but I think it was in 2008 when I stumbled to your blog. I think it was from Dilip D’Souza–>Ms. Zaidi–> and then you. You, for sure, have mallowed down.
    I am happy that things are working out wiht inlaws. It is good that the kids can relate to both sets of granpas and grandmaas.

  13. Oh this is the sweetest, sweetest thing. Happy homecoming MM 🙂

    I’ve been reading you for seven+ years now, and my love and respect for you has only grown, especially that now you’ve got your edges rounded off. Have a wonderful life with the OA and all that being in a complete family entails. Warmest of wishes xoxo

  14. Congratulations MM and OA! You both deserve a good happy family after years of work and love. Best wishes to both of you!

  15. Dear MadMomma (& MadFamily by extension),

    I have been reading your blog since 2006. Each nugget, each story has over this long period of time led me to care and adore for your mad family from afar. There have many times when I have clicked off your blog with a goofy grin on my face, and other times with worry and prayers. This is one share after reading which a lump the size of Texas has taken up residence in my throat. I am so happy for you. May these quiet moments of peace and joy remain ever present in your life.

    Happy Anniversary to you and the OA!

  16. hugs hugs hugs. and so sorry to hear about Baby Button. wishing him a super-quick recovery. young bones knit fast.

  17. de-lurking after aeons to wish you guys a very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! it’s quite inspirational to read about your journey. at 25, it makes me feel optimistic about the future and gives me the strength to believe that one can always come around, sooner or later.
    Best Wishes to you, the OA and the resilient bachchas!

  18. De-lurking to wish you two a very happy anniversary. I have been reading your blog for years, started of one day at work when I was bored and came across your blog and I was hooked and look forward to every post now. You have a beautiful family and I wish you guys all happiness, health and prosperity.

    • “I wish the OA had not felt alone and vulnerable. I wonder if he questioned his decision as he signed the dotted line. I wonder how it must have hurt to have my parents stand by us at a receiving line, but not his.”
      We think so rarely for men walking out of their homes and taking life-altering big decisions, no? Hats off to the OA for showing that kinda conviction in your relationship. And to you for making it work!

  19. How absolutely awesome! So happy you’ve reached this stage in your relationship with the OA’s family.

    And what’s with your family and broken bones! Poor baby! (Though he seems unaffected by it, in the pictures:))

  20. Such a beautiful post, MM. I wish this gift stays with you forever…
    I had an arranged marriage – so started out as ‘approved’ but things went sour until it reached an abyss. Now we’re working our way up and out, but I still carry resentment in my heart. Your post gives me inspiration to talk things out with them, rather than seethe in anger over past interactions and bitterness from them, and pretend it’s all good now. Hopefully some day we’ll come to a calm – the kids, yes they have an absolutely loving relationship.. but this is the one key piece in my life’s puzzle that I am still working on

    • All the best, KM. I don’t know if I have any words of advice to offer other than, don’t compromise on your principles and what matters to you. No relationship is worth it. And just view them with compassion. I believe I’ve changed as a person (you’ll probably see it in my blogging) and I am a lot mellower and less likely to view things and people harshly. But most importantly, I think my MIL made an effort too. No one wants to be in a one-sided relationship and I responded to her attempts. We’re not best friends of course, but I think we’re honest and open and kind to each other and that is enough for me.

      • I agree – I’ve mellowed down too (comes with age and kids, I guess :)).. the main issue we have is the lack of communication or confrontation. We’re just so worried it will get nasty – but then again, being quiet isn’t helping. They’re visiting next month, so lets see how far we get this time around. Thankfully I have a super supportive spouse.. but he doesn’t want us to talk about each others’ parents much because we seem to get all riled up when we do :(..

  21. Loved this…it took my in-laws 15 years to let us in by which time the kids were already grown-up and loving their known set of grandparents with all their heart…sad but a deep lesson learnt.Wishing all of you many.many years of love 🙂

  22. congratulations on completing eleven years
    Along with hardwork you have put in..i must appreciate OA’s decision of going for what he wanted to do ..n yes its been very fruitful …as he has you as wife..so sure it was worth all the tough times…n i totally agree that people come togther n bind with each other only when they want to…wishing you love and prayers for many more years to come…cheers!!

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