LOVING our IN laws when they seem to be OUT laws

Being a “born again christian,” I was a virgin when married at 22, and expected my in laws to be the loving people they claimed to be because ‘god is love.’ Although I challenged their immodest opinions about my ‘too short’ skirts, we were close and Chuck and I visited their home most weekends, washing our laundry, while renting an apartment an hour away. Being an RN, teaching at Cincinnati’s nursing school, I was excited to be able to bring home a foster preemie baby from the nursery, my husband and I being emergency certified. Our first daughter Erin loved having a baby sister whom we named Toby. But my in laws did not love Toby. Toby was biracial and not allowed to be in the same living space with the rest of the family. “Of course, we are friends with the black people, but they are not (good enough) to be part of the family,” my in laws would say. Looking back, I am a bit horrified that I went along, allowing Toby to be only in the lower level of their home, where Chuck and I slept. When my father-in-law spoke to me alone in their kitchen, he said something like: “How could you disrespect your mother-in-law’s feelings about Toby; she’s from Mississippi.” I replied, “How could you not love an innocent baby no matter what color they are?” with angry tears forming a barrier to his angry voice. That was in the seventies. (Seven years later, my mother-in-law apologized, admitting that she had been wrong.) I have been married 3 more times, after Chuck came out as homosexual six years into our ‘christian’ marriage, which faith we have gladly left behind, myself doing so during my second marriage which ended amicably as did my third. My fourth marriage father-in-law walked me down the Rose Inn aisle to my soul mate Gregory. I was well-accepted as being helpful to their struggling son on his way to a divorce from his ten year marriage. I was happy to become step mom of his ten year old daughter Sara, but not to be the brunt of his accusations that I was having affairs and not telling him. His distrust ripped open the pain of my heart to angry-sad sobs, deeply buried, unaware of their existence in me; leading me to primal therapy, healing me to where I am more able to authentically love Gregory and mySelf despite his lies and anger escalating when I left him after being together six years. During our long separation, before our divorce, my in-laws were purported to not like me anymore. In 2006, Gregory apologized for all the lies and verbal abuse, and has expressed his appreciation for my love many times since. I had consistently reached out to Gregory with birthday phone calls and holiday cards, since 1998 when I had left, because I will always love him as Van Gogh stated: “Love is eternal: its aspects may change but not its essence.” Therefore, I showed up at my in laws door one day in 2010, unannounced, apprehensive, yet they wholeheartedly welcomed me. In.