TBT: My First Trip to WI!

The first time I met Jeremy’s parent, we had been married for about 4 months.

The summer of 2009 I made my first trip to Wisconsin. My first time seeing Jeremy’s home town. My first time meeting his family.

5860_118041556818_7666711_nAs someone who was born and raised in CA, Wisconsin was a bit of a culture shock! Lots of farms, lots of drinking, lots of bars and lots of cheese.

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A little drunk at Fundfest (country concert) with Jeremy and his BFF Mallory

People are allowed to smoke inside. It was shocking enough to see so many people smoking, let alone inside! Everything takes place in the bar. Lunch, dinner, football, hanging out. The food is deep fried and cheesy. Culver’s is amazing, I’m very sad they don’t have one in CA. There are farms everywhere. We visited on of his buddies farms and saw baby pigs!

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His friend Shorty’s farm

Aside from the culture shock of Wisconsin in general, Jeremy’s family is very different then my own.

My parents are upper middle class people. My Dad is an artist and my Mom owns her own dog kennel. They are liberal, eat a lot of veggies and don’t drink (my Mom at least).

Jeremy’s family is working class. Conservative. Most of them smoke and drink heavily.

And I love them all! They all probably thought I was some kind of crazy California girl, but as different as our lifestyles are, I love them all. They are sweet and kind people who welcomed me with open arms.

His sister has a hilarious sarcastic sense of humor that I always enjoy (even if at times she scares me and I worry she doesn’t like me lol).

His brothers are so close to each other and similar in many ways. They joke around and get on each other constantly, which is so entertaining.

His sister-in-law and her family are so sweet. We bond over the fact that we are married to such similar men and complain about their lack of communication skills.

His Dad has a very distinct personality, but he is the sweetest man I’ve ever met. He loves his children and calls me his daughter.

I got very lucky with my in-laws! And although I know they probably questioned Jeremy’s choice to get hitched so fast to some random Cali Girl, they have been nothing by kind to me.

I love Wisconsin and I can’t wait to move there after Jeremy gets out of the military. I love the open space and the farmland. I love the small town community. The only downside so far is the snow lol

I can’t wait to live in Wisconsin and be close to Jeremy’s family, especially now that we have a niece, a nephew and two more on the way! I love how close his family is. How much they value and love each other.

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Family & Homecoing

Who should be at a homecoming?

This seems to be a common debate/topic of discussion among military spouses as deployments start to come to an end.

I saw a debate online about it today, as I have seen many times in the past. There are typically two sides to the argument, immediate family only vs. extended family and friends okay

For those who think only spouses (and children) should be at homecoming argue that they are the most important and most affective by deployments. They are the ones who give the most support, sending care packages and letters. They argue that the nuclear family needs time together alone after deployments to reintegrate, away from extended meddling family. I’ve heard the argument that parents and siblings have had their whole life with the service member, and that spouses deserve to have their future time.

I fall on the other side of the argument. I feel that extended family and friends are more than welcome at homecomings. I understand the above point of view, and maybe if my family or my husband’s family were difficult then I might not want them there, but they are great, so I am more than happy to have them at homecomings if they want to come. Β My husband’s family was in his life long before I was. His parents raised him, his siblings grew up with him. I would never presume to think that they love him any less than I do. It is a different kind of love and a different relationship, but they are still a huge part of his life, and I recognize and respect that.

I can’t imagine how I would feel if one of our children, who we loved and raised for 18+ years came home from a deployment and his/her spouse said that we couldn’t be there. I would be very hurt, and to be honest, would probably think less of my child’s spouse for not supporting or understanding how important family is (to me and my husband, it is very important).

I acknowledge that many people have had in-law homecoming horror stories. Bing pushed out of the way by a mother-in-law for the first hug. Family staying at hour home for weeks. There do need to be some boundaries when it comes to families and homecomings. Who gets the first hug. How long family will stay in town. Where family will stay (with the couple or in a hotel). All those things need to be worked out and agreed to by all parties before the big day.

We have never had family at either of my husband’s homecomings (they couldn’t afford to fly out). However, if we did, I would want the first hug/kiss and I would expect them to get a hotel and stay in town for less than a week. Other than that, I think it would be wonderful if they came. More people to take pictures for us (haha), and I know my husband would love to see his parents and siblings and would appreciate that they came out to be there for him.

Now, it’s a different story if the service member doesn’t want their family there. In the end, I believe that homecoming is about the service member. They should be able to request who they want or don’t want for that special day. I think spouses need to respect their service members choice and honor it, because it is their day just as much as (if not more than) it is yours.