February 10, 2013: A Celebration of Russ & Cook

Russ and Cookie at their 25th milestone

Today I went to the 50th anniversary party of Cookie and Russ Lane; my former in-laws, ex-husband's parents...kids' grandparents. I really don't know what to call them now. They were my mother and father in-law for so many years. I still call them that out of habit. For twenty plus years, through my young adulthood, they were like parents to me and are wonderful grandparents to my kids. Russ and Cookie are just good people. I think that is the best way to refer to them in the future. No fancy titles necessary.

It gave me a smile to watch the video their kids had prepared; full of family photos through their 50 years together. Lots of memories, some forgotten and others thought of often, raced through my mind. Most of these were just simple moments.

Cookie helped me shop for my wedding dress. After trying on my first dress option, I turned to Cookie and said, "I like it. I'll get this one." She very kindly encouraged me to try another. So I did and responded with "I think I'll still go with the first one." She just smiled and helped me check out. As a twenty year-old without a clue on the requirements of being a bridezilla, Cookie was humored with the ease of this purchase. Since then we have spent many years organizing parties and picnics, holding babies, and celebrating family together.

I was introduced to Big Russ by Scott while we were as dating college students. His kind dad seemed quiet and a bit reserved. I was subsequently shocked by his telling me a graphically dirty joke within ten minutes of meeting me. Once the shock wore off, I realized that Russ was the king of joke-telling. Appropriate or inappropriate didn't matter as long as it was funny.

Russ has humored me over the years too. He knew that I enjoyed clothes and would hum background cat walk music as I would put on my "fashion shows". When I would cook healthy meals for him post-heart attack, Russ would refer to me as "Seattle Sandy". A funny play on words as we had a local health food company in Omaha called Seattle Sutton's. Making light in life is a strength of both Russ and Cookie that resonates through all their family.

It was so awesome to see the many family members and friends who have been a part of Russ and Cookie's life over these fifty years. I have shared many fond memories with these same people. Although I did get a greeting from each of my own kids, the boys were comfortably nestled in with their cousins and Lane friends on the sidelines. They are very comfortable in this circle of family.

My boyfriend, Garrett, joined me today as well. Most would think this would be awkward as Scott is now remarried; enjoying his next chapter of life with Kat. This wasn't the case at all. The party was a celebration of Russ & Cookie's life together. I was a part of these 50 years, as were the many people around us. A blessing.  As I said to Garrett on our ride home, the feelings that went through me weren't regret or those of an outsider. My years as a Lane daughter-in-law were a good run. I was blessed to share life with good people. Yes, Russ and Cook are just good people. It can't be put any better than that.

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