In Dutch they are called beautiful – both sons and daughters. I must admit I do not know the exact etymology, but I like the thought. I was a beautiful son to my beautiful mother before she passed away. My sons are beautiful sons to their beuatiful fathers and mothers. And we have two beautiful daughters. In English we are much more formal: daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law. The law was needed to add them to the family and the law can remove them as well.
My (Scott) mom has long used a different term for her daughters-in-law (she having 5 sons) which I have understood she heard first by someone else. She was the first one I heard use it and I love it: daughters-in-love. Yes, the law has made them officially part of the family, and we are very greatful for that. But it is the love our sons have for them that brought them into the family, the love that we have for them that ties us to them. And even if the law should officially change things, they can remain “in-love”.
So as we left Texas, we headed to Indiana where we were able to be treated by our daughter-in-love, Natalie. We had already experienced her love for us when Stephan and Natalie came to Europe to visit and she planned a trip to Oxford. Natalie understands how much we want to be able to spend time with Stephan and she allows for that. At the same time, she does not shy away from our desire to be with her as well. So we had time together at the Ikea, at their home and walking with the rest of the in-loves who live in Indianapolis.
In New York we met up with our other daughter-in-love, Jill, and were treated to her love for us and for Scott’s mom for the few days we had together. As with Natalie, Jill understands mothers wanting time with their sons (and made time for Shirley with Sean and Scott with Patricia). Making sure that we found somewhere everyone could eat (even if that meant adapting her restaurant desires), looking for metro stations with an elevator, going places that everyone wanted to go. Yes, these are things that a kind person would do. And that is my point exactly. Our daughters are loving people, in love with our sons. We are so thankful for our daughters-in-love.
In addition, we had opportunity in Colorado, Indiana and California to visit with all of our sisters-in-love and even a brother-in-love (from whom we heard all kinds of fun stories about traveling). And although law may have adapted the status of some in this group, we were very thankful for our visit in San Diego with our sister-in-love and nephew.
Shirley and I both learned long ago what Jesus meant when he pointed out that family is different than blood. Peter mentioned to Jesus that they had left all behind to follow Jesus and Jesus replied: “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:29-30)
We have experienced this in the church everywhere. God has given us a family everywhere. And in addition – we can enjoy our daughters-in-love. What does your family look like? Take the time to enjoy them all.