If you tell just about any couple on the planet that the bride’s mother-in-law will be joining them for seven days of their honeymoon, they might spit out their drink or smack you in the face. It’s just not the typical honeymoon pairing.
But we aren’t the typical honeymoon pair.
Since we knew we’d be away from home for an extended period of time this year, we sent an all-call out to all of our friends and family members, inviting them to join us for some portion of the honeymoon. And we were so pleasantly surprised with those who responded to the call. My old roommate, Michelle, took a risk and flew around the world on her own to spend a week with us. My best buddy, Brad, bought one of his famous one-way tickets and has been out here for the past three weeks. Andrew’s friend from college, Pat, made the trip from Vietnam with his girlfriend, Camille. And our fourth and final guest, Jane, is coming out tomorrow to celebrate her 70th birthday with us!
We have so loved this honeymoon on so many levels. We really did need four months of alone time to learn how to communicate and work together. But we also needed this time with friends and loved ones. Time to entertain. Time to share a piece of paradise. Time to re-integrate a bit with our world before we crash back into it in November, wheels on fire.
And Bali is such an amazing place to share with friends. I have to admit that, when we first arrived, I was a tad disappointed. I was expecting pristine beaches, well-manicured lawns and friendly monkeys. But much of the island is rough roads with shacks selling souvenirs, the beaches are often rocky or filled with trash, and the monkeys will chase you down and bite your head off if you aren’t careful.
But as you settle in here, meet the local people, eat the local fare, the magic of the island begins to reveal itself. You can really become part of this place. You can live here. The people really embrace you. Smiles are contagious. The lush plant-life sucks you in. The natural beauty unfolds as you drive the windy roads, walk the beach, meet your neighbors.
And I’m so excited to share this magic with Jane. We had a bit of a rocky start (as would happen with any mother of an oldest and only son and the California hippy woman who intends to take him 3,000 miles away), but the more I learn about Jane, the more I get to know her, the more her magic reveals itself as well.
Jane is an independent woman. A brave soul. A loving mother. A brilliant mind. And the more I learn about her, the more I want to learn. She’s given so much to her community, through teaching, and to her family. And I want to learn to be more like her.
I can’t imagine a better guest on our honeymoon, or a better way to celebrate 70 years of her life’s contributions.