Both of my daughters-in-law are very smart and good-looking, and they are good writers (though only one of them blogs.) They are also both great moms who have deigned to let us spoil their children. But Janice and I only recently figured out (we are slow, after all) that one of them, Kacy, is also hip. We aren’t quite sure how that happened: how did a hip person marry into our family–especially as the spouse of one of our sons? Does that mean that Christian (our oldest) is also hip? Probably not. It is possible that after he married Kacy he got hip, but I doubt that hip can be taught at this stage of his life (early 30s) or, if it can, then I doubt that it can be taught in less than about twenty years. With the exception of our next to the youngest daughter, Rebecca, none of the rest of us has ever been hip, so it is odd to discover that there are two hip persons in the family.
That discovery makes us nervous: does that mean that Kacy merely tolerates us? Perhaps, but if she does, she’s done a good job of concealing it. Or, has she, like Rebecca, learned to overlook our nerdiness? In that case, she’s not only hip, but unusually gracious. After all, there is a sense in which Rebecca has to overlook it. But Kacy doesn’t.
However, Kacy’s hipness isn’t the only thing that makes us nervous. In the back of our minds, we have always suspected that all our childrens’ spouses merely tolerate us. Recognizing that Kacy is hip merely brought that suspicion to the front of our consciousness. In fact, it moved it from suspicion to recognition.
Mike (the husband of Lis, our youngest–college teacher, craft person, family chauffer, . . . .) tolerates our frequent requests for computer help and the fact that he has been forced by circumstances to live cheek-to-jowl with his in-laws since he got married (well, at least in the same part of Provo, which if you’re talking about in-laws is pretty much the same as cheek-to-jowl). Angela has tolerated the fact that her husband, Matthew (our second son and the creator of “Feast Upon the Word“) has my last name. Since she is a very good philosopher, it is a nuisance always to be associated (among those who know BYU) with me. I suspect it would be nice if fewer conversations started with “Are you related to Jim Faulconer?” Now that Matthew and Angela are moving to Provo (from which he will tele-commute), she’s going to hear that question more often and she, too, will have to put up with cheek-to-jowl living.
Janice and I get more and more excited about the eternal family idea as we get more and more grandchildren (number 8 is in process), especially if eternal families let us play with the kids but take them home at the end of the day. (No toddlers and elementary school kids in heaven?! Impossible.) We hope our in-laws will keep on tolerating us, even if we aren’t hip and even though we are a nuisance.