The other day, I had the opportunity of communicating via Facebook and email with one of my BFF's sister-in-laws and while pondering on why I was so glad she and I were doing said communicating, I came up with a term: friend-in-law.
By now I know that it is probably not all that original, but I have never heard anyone call anyone that; therefore, I claim ownership!
As I labeled myself as a friend-in-law to her, a flood of memories of family events and weird situations came to the surface.
Everyone who thinks about getting married, is married, or who has ever been married has counted on having to deal with, put up with, learn how to love, try not to despise the in-laws. This includes: mother, father, brothers and sisters in laws. And the funny thing is that there are in-laws on both sides! Just a thought. So anyways, my point is that no one really ever mentally plans for the friend-in-law.
The friend-in-law is that best friend and/or old friend of the family who shows up to family picnics, reunions or Fourth of July barbeques and you just wonder to yourself, "Who is that? Why is he/she here? I thought this was a family gathering." And subconsciously or consciously we wish we knew what to do about this friend-in-law issue.
My first encounter as a friend-in-law was when my superfriend invited me to come to the park to fly kites and have a picnic with her husband's family. I didn't think much about it then, but now I realize why things might have been a bit strange. I have been a friend-in-law to them for over 16 years now and it has been a growing experience for all of us, I am sure. I am not your run of the mill smooth vanilla, remember? I'm more like spicy ice cream...
Speaking of my friend as the friend-in-law, my brothers should have better warned their wives about how Melissa is just a part of the family. Someone who is there when you have your first child, gets to your mom's house after driving four times as far as you did almost at the same time as you after hearing the news that your mom died, and knows all the stupid stuff about you as an adolescent and still wants to hang out with you needs to be part of the family--somehow. And now I have found a really good term to use for introducing who Melissa and her family are in our family. Friends-in-law.
Love 'em or hate 'em, friends-in-law are one of those things that you can't ever get rid of. This amazingly extraordinary category of in-law includes the family your in-laws actually have chosen.