Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why I love my husband

There are a trio of special days this week, yesterday was our anniversary, today is election day, and tomorrow is my 29th birthday. It's funny when you think about it, how things are so different between your family and your husband's family. Take for example, our anniversary.

Now, I'm not making a case out of this because I dislike my in-laws. I adore them, but as with any new family members, you're not really sure where you stand. As of November 1st, I've been with Paul for five years. His mom and I are quite good friends, always chatting via email, and going to family things together. Paul is eight years behind his brother, and 7 years behind his sister, and is often treated like a child, despite the fact of being the only one to move out permanently when he was 18, and paying for his own high school education at a private school, and actually helping to FUND his sister's wedding, while in high school. It's odd to me, that although he may not have a college degree, he's the only sibling who has worked his butt off for ten years doing whatever he can to provide for himself, yet they still treat him like a charity case. It's easy to lord your college education over your brother when you didn't have to pay for it yourself. Maybe if he had been given the chance, Paul would have gone to UCLA, or CAL like his siblings. He wasn't given that chance. That's why it incenses me to think about how he's treated. When it comes to dinners with the family, we were recently upgraded from napkins to rolls, because how can we screw up bread?

The difference between our families is obvious to me, but he tends to not think about it. My family called, emailed and sent cards on our anniversary, recognizing that yes, one year of marriage is a milestone! Congratulations, you two! Even my blogger friends left us congratulations on various forums. Paul's family? Not a peep. Not a card, email, phone call, text message. Nothing. It kind of breaks my heart, because I've seen the contrast in how our anniversary was celebrated, and how my brother and sister in laws anniversaries are celebrated. They get cards, phone calls, VISITS, and my MIL will take a day off work to go visit them, and take the kids off their hands for a little alone time. And perhaps this is childish of me, as any anniversary is special, but isn't a first anniversary more special than a 6 year anniversary?

I hate to sound self-absorbed, I really do, but I feel bad for Paul. It seems that no matter what he does, people don't recognize how amazing and loving he is. He's by far the most emotional of the siblings, easily hurt but not quite willing to say anything, and part of me really wants to say something to his mom, because she's the list keeper in the family, she's the one who makes the big deal of things. Why can't Paul just get a little bit of recognition that he needs? That he DESERVES?

We talked about this last night at dinner, how although my brother is now living in Australia, my dad now has Paul as a surrogate son. Sure, he's a lot sportier and manly than my brother was (no offense Shawn), but I've heard my Dad gloat about Paul, and it makes me happy and sad for Paul. Dad likes to tell people about his son-in-law who is a teacher. He's a coach, and inspired by John Wooden. He's a good guy, 6 foot 4! Huge! A big teddy bear, he says. Paul's family? "He's just baby Paul". No one brags about how he's instrumental in children's lives. Not a peep about how he's supported himself on his own, after his dad passed away when he was 19. No, they just criticize him about his weight, and lack of college education.

Sometimes I just wish we only had my family. I'm not saying his family doesn't love him beneath the hurtful comments, but how hard is it to tell your son, or your brother than you're proud of him? That's all he needs. And perhaps a little "Congrats on one year" would have been nice too. After all, we are the only siblings to have paid for our entire wedding ourselves. Sure it wasn't a fancy Yacht Club shindig, nor was it a Bel-Air Country club fete, but it was in our budget, and we were able to save for years to put it on. Now how about a little recognition for how hard Paul works for this, in-laws?

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