In Common Law

I was having a text conversation the other day with a friend.  As the conversation wound down, he told me to, “Enjoy my in-laws”.  (They were visiting so this was appropriate.)  As I thought about his comment beyond the obvious, I was hit with a realization.  What does a person who is not married but has been with the same person for 20+ years call their wife’s parents?  The rest of this post is my mental meanderings about this topic.  (It is not my purpose to discuss the merits or non-merits of this arrangement.  It is only a discussion of how to best reference the parties involved.)

In many states, once a couple carries on for an extending period of time in a married fashion, they are awarded the designation of “common law” marriage.  (If the title is not awarded, it may be simply them claiming the title.)  While I refer to my wife’s parents as the “in-laws” or “mom and dad”, I have a suspicion my friend refers to his common law wife’s parents the same way.  (Technically, I suppose “mother in common law and father in common law” are the correct title.)  While it would be appropriate for parents in-laws to call son in-laws by their first name, I cannot think of more than a couple of times I called my in-laws by their first names.  Fortunately, the kids of common law parents face no confusion – mom, dad, parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents share the same titles regardless of the parents status.

Is this a fluff posting to meet a quota?  It might be.  Is it a real thought I had within my brain that needed to see the light of day?  Debatable. Do I celebrate marriages but still hold those who stay in committed heterosexual relationships in high regard?  Absolutely!!

Mommy Directions

After going to the Christmas musical at Gateway church last year, we (definitely my wife and girls for sure) were excited to go again this year.  When momma wants to go, we try and make it happen!

Unfortunately, today was not an ideal day to make it happen.  As we fought the sprinkles and the full parking lot, our battle proved impossible when we wanted to find 7 seats all together inside the auditorium.  My wife ended up sitting with two of the girls (one exchange daughter and one bio).  My son and I sat together in the overflow area, and the other two girls sat together inside the auditorium because they would not tolerate watching the Truthical on “screen-only”.

Just after we sat, my wife gave me a quick text about our post-musical meeting place- “Meet you outside the entrance where we came in”.  The church is monstrous, but I was certainly capable of retracing my steps.  I texted back letting her know to look for the two other girls before settling in for the show. After a few Broadway songs with “revised” words, some witty dialogue, a few cute kid moments, and the post-musical altar invitation, my son and I easily found the entrance my wife described in her text.

The first 5 minutes we waited, we assumed it was difficult to pull all of the girls together.  The next ten minutes were spent watching the crowds thin as the “leavers” swarmed to the exit and the “comers” for the next performance rushed to fill the vacated seats in the balcony above.  My phones vibration pulled me away from my people watching.  After confirming I was at the correct entrance, my wife requested I raise my hand.  Of course, if she would have been at the correct entrance, we would easily have been reunited at this point.  My son’s phone call to mom confirmed what we suspected-the large Christmas tree at the OTHER entrance had caused my wife to lose all sense of direction.  Just like at a Disney amusement park, she was drawn to the big object regardless of where she really wanted to go.

Although the large quantity of incoming and outgoing cars and those jockeying for better parking spots to avoid excessive rain accumulation on their umbrella-less bodies greatly delayed our evacuation of the Gateway premises, my wife was confident behind the wheel.  You see, in our 20+ years of marriage, we have learned a couple of things about each other.  I was not shocked or angry when she was unable to find the entrance she described.  And, I was relieved beyond my ability to express when she volunteered to drive us out of this parking lot of perdition.  Individually, we have a few faults, but the team is AWESOME.