As I aimlessly stare out the car window on the last three hours of our drive home from New York, I can’t help but to feel blessed beyond measure.
Every year for the last three years after my husband’s parents moved back to New York with his sister and her family, we have made it a point to visit them in the summer. This visit was a bit different emotionally. After nine years of marriage, I felt like my in-laws and I truly bonded. I don’t know if it was due to all the excitement over my niece’s high school graduation or having their only son back with them, but the sense of family, love, and good times filled the atmosphere. I must admit that it made me a little emotional.
Let me give you a little insight into my relationship with my in-laws. Our inability to fully connect has nothing to do with dislikes, family issues, nor any of the obvious in-law reasonings. It all boils down to one word, CULTURE. You see, my in-laws are from Haiti, and I am Jamaican-American. There is a huge language barrier that stands between us like a force field. My mother and father-in-law both speak English, but not comfortable. Whenever we would have get togethers, I would end up sitting with the kids because they were the only ones that I could communicate with effectively.
From the time that we got there to the time that we left, I noticed them trying harder to connect with me, which made me open up more. I even watched YouTube videos on basic Creole so that I could make an effort to better communicate with my husband’s family, and it seemed to have worked, because we laughed, danced, talked, and floated on the wings of togetherness, and it was amazing. I also didn’t have to sit at the kid’s table.
My plan when I get home is to get better at speaking their language by next summer’s visit so that we can get even closer, and talk about things that were unspoken because of our cultural and language difference.