The Silver Lining to Living with My In-Laws

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Background details:

When I was five months pregnant with Cayman, Mike received a job offer where its location was closer to our families than where we were living in Northwest Indiana, 160 miles away from them.

Mike's cell phone rang literally just seconds after exiting the door of the hospital at the appointment where Cayman's diagnosis was confirmed by the specialist.

Thinking back on it, I'm surprised Mike even answered his phone at a time when there was so much weighing on our hearts. I think we were in such shock, numb from the pain, that we didn't know what we were doing. We were just going through the motions of life, practically on auto pilot.

It was a crazy time to consider such a drastic change. We realized accepting the job would bring more chaos. It would mean selling our house, searching for new doctor care, and moving in with Mike's parents. We couldn't afford both a mortgage and rent, and my in-laws were gracious enough to open their place to us. It was a big decision but it was also an opportunity we had been hoping for since Mike graduated from college but thought it would never happen. We never wanted to settle far away from our families but we had to go where the jobs were. And I longed to have my mom close during such a rough time.

So we accepted the offer and packed up just our necessary things. We moved in with my in-laws and lived with them for six months until our house in Indiana sold.

Journal Entry (written a few months after we moved out from my in-laws):

Not having a place of our own was a very trying time. I could not satisfy my nesting urges by putting together a nursery for Cayman. She had a single dresser for her things and we kept out only the bare necessities of what we needed for ourselves.

The rest remained in boxes. Boxes mean chaos, unorganized, and confusion. No matter how many sharpie pens we went through trying to accurately label each box's contents, it still remained daunting to find any item we were in search for.

The worst had to of been when I sold one of Mike's old college books online. I had listed a few of them while we were still living in Indiana. Before we moved back to Ohio, we sorted out all of our belongings into two categories:

Take With Us


Leave Behind

We decided to not move everything. We kept our furniture and several items stored at our house. A furnished home makes for a more inviting tour anyways plus we figured we were paying a mortgage every month, why not use our house for storage instead of renting a unit back in Ohio.

That solution made the most sense financially. But when trying to sort out your stuff not knowing when you'll have access to it again, is difficult.

Well, I had forgotten about listing the books for sale. I was reminded a couple months later when I received a notification that a rather expensive book had sold. I searched and searched through every box we had brought with us to Ohio, hoping it was one that we had chosen to bring with us. When its presence did not turn up in my search, I knew it had to be in one of the boxes back in Indiana.


So my dear, big sis made that long 5 hour round trip with me when I was 7 months pregnant with Cayman, back to our house in Indiana, to retrieve this book that had sold, making its profits more than worth the trip in gas.


Yes it was!

It was terribly annoying being that unorganized.

It was terribly annoying having our stuff scattered across two states.

It was terribly annoying not feeling the complete settlement of being home as we embarked on a new journey of becoming parents.

It was terribly annoying trying to arrange care and upkeep for our house while living so far away.

My mind was spinning in a million different directions with all the doctor appointments and processing Cayman's diagnosis, let alone all of the craziness of moving and living in a very temporary situation.

It was without a doubt, stressful!

But there's a special silver lining in that circumstance. During those six months, I got to know my in-laws well. My father-in-law has a great sense of humor and it was refreshing to be around a father figure like that.

My friendship with my mother-in-law blossomed and I am blessed to know her as one of my dearest friends now. She's precious to me. With a background experience in teaching for the MRDD, she said so many sweet and helpful things to me when I was pregnant with Cayman. She showed me, without a doubt, a special needs granddaughter would be loved and accepted beyond measure. That meant the world to me and eased some of my fears.

Trapped under a stormy cloud of not really having a home of my own is one that I am grateful for experiencing, even though it was tough.

The ease and comfort I have when I am at my in-laws now, all came to be, because we were once roommates. Their home was home to me for awhile and that's kind of never gone away. I never realized how much we were strangers before especially compared to the friendship I feel I have with them now.

And that's the gain. The precious silver lining.

"I love you Mark and Sue! Thank you for all that you've ever done for us!"

Grandpa Mark

Grandma Sue

At Grandpa and Grandma's house, Cayman has a favorite toy. It's a pink musical box when you wind the key the Disney characters scroll across the screen. It's divinely adorable watching her little fingers work hard with persistence to turn that key.

And when Cayman's not playing with the Disney musical box, she can be found getting into Grandma Sue's newspapers that she's always behind in reading.

9 Showin' Comment Love:

Anonymous said...

Playing with paper is very, very good fine motor work! No wonder Cayman's hand skills are good.

A wonderful tribute to your in-laws. My Hubby's parents died when he was young and I have never had the opportunity to benefit from or suffer in-laws.

The Soldatke family said...

What a beautiful entry in your journal to a time in your life that was not so easy. One of things (and notice I said one...there are many more) I love about your, Kristen, is your positiveness, and desire to find that silver lining. You help me to remember to strive to find it in my life when I sometimes forget. It is truly an endearing quality of yours. And I love you for it!

P.S. 18 days (not that I'm counting or anything(: )

Grandma S said...

What a sweet entry! I'm the one that feels blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know you better. I remember when you and Mike got engaged and everyone told me how sweet you were. I just couldn't believe that anyone could be that wonderful, but I found out for myself that you are just as you appear--a kind, loving, thoughful young woman, and I couldn't love you more.

I think I've told you this before, but you have been wonderful for Mike. You complement each other perfectly. The respect I had for you (and Mike) grew by leaps and bounds as I saw the care you gave to little Cayman when you brought her home from the hospital. I'm still in awe of what fantastic parents you two are.

I miss our late-night talks while Mike was working and coming home from work and having Cayman here to cuddle with. When the three of you moved out, I had that empty-nest syndrome all over again. Another plus of having you here was that my pantry was never so organized!

The picture of Mark and Cayman is one of my all-time favorites. It shows a side of Grandpa that we don't usually see.

Kristen said...


I miss our late night talks too and our 1 hour long dwellings of putting off washing our faces before bed. I never knew I was not the only one that just kind of hated that little nightly routine task. When I think back to that time and if we would have been living on our own, I can't imagine I would have been better off. I think you help keep me sane (and Mike) because I had a chance to vent off some of my thoughts and emotions instead of letting them build and build until Mike got home from work and release them all on that tired man. I know he appreciates the friendship that formed between us too.

Lisa said...

I can see that you in-laws are wonderful people! I am sure that you were both blessed to have eachother at that time. And how lucky Cayman is to have such a loving, tight-knit family!

Looking forward to tomorrow's entry! (I am so impressed that you keep a blog AND a journal.)

Sherri said...

It never ceases to amaze me the ways that God chooses to bless us and grow us! Thanks for sharing this :)

Beth said...

Great post! We lived with Brannon's mom and her husband (aka Nana and Pop) for 9 months when we first moved back here. I was horrified at the thought of living with parent's - we were married with two kids of ourown - we weren't supposed to be doing this. But it was a blessing - I got to stay at home with the girls for 15 months and I had soooo much help and the girls worship their Nana and Pop (esp Pop) because of that experience! Sometimes I wish we were still there - haha, only sometimes!

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful post, Kristin. You are blessed and so are they!

Kristen said...


My journals don't fill up nearly as fast as they use to since I have the blog. The blog definitely has taken first place in location for my documenting.