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Guest column - Life's Gifts...

  • Written by Connie Berg
For most of us, life is hectic, challenging and can sometimes seem overwhelming. We can get so busy and focused on the pursuit of the next thing in our lives, we often forget to appreciate the amazing gifts we already have. Some of these gifts are so valuable; they are priceless in every sense of the word.

You may be asking, what gifts? Are they jewelry, a nice house, a new car? What could be SO valuable?

In this column, I would like to take a few moments of your precious time and help remind you of the gifts you may have in your lives, but have forgotten to appreciate. Am I an expert on life’s gifts? No, just consider these reminders, a Random Act of Kindness.

One gift that I would like to talk about is the gift of in-laws. Yes, I said in-laws. For some, the words may bring an instant smile to your face and others may have the opposite reaction. For me, the words bring a smile and sometimes a tear or two. You see, my in-laws have passed and are no longer here on earth for me to enjoy. Yes, I said enjoy. I genuinely enjoyed and loved my in-laws.

It seems surprising, when I look back on when I first told people I was getting married. It amazed me how many people took the time to warn me about the horrors of in-laws. I was more than a little worried after hearing endless stories of in-law nightmares. More than one person reminded me: "Remember, you’re not just marrying your husband, you’re marrying his entire family!"

I still remember with clarity, the first time I met my in-laws. I was in my 20’s, working for a very fashion forward company and, I more than dressed the part. I had big hair, big nails, big jewelry and outlandish clothes. I did tone down my attire, so I thought, for our first meeting. Looking back, it was a lot for anyone to take, at first glance. But, when I first met John and Betty, they looked past all the clothes and hair and saw ME. They immediately welcomed me into their home and their lives. Over the years, I grew to love them, like they were my own parents.

Was our relationship perfect? Of course not, it was a strong relationship based on love, mutual respect and acceptance. My relationship with them was a gift. An amazing gift, one I will always treasure.

My mother-in-law has been gone for six years and I still sometimes want to pick up the phone and talk to her. She always made time for me, always listened to my stories and concerns about the kids.

The one thing I think I miss the most is the stories she shared with me. She always told me stories about her life, her struggles, and how hard it was sometimes to be a mom. I miss how much she enjoyed spending time with her grandkids. I miss her phone calls…..

My father-in-law has been gone for a year. I miss his hugs. I miss his tomatoes and strawberries. I miss his smile, his laughter and how he used to bring me flowers from his garden. I miss how he always ended every phone conversation with, goodbye for now….

I know that not all in-laws are like mine. What I do know is that they were a gift. A priceless gift, one I will forever be grateful for, and dearly miss. If you are lucky enough to have wonderful in-laws, take time to appreciate them and, thank them for being such an important part of your life!

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