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How the kindness of others can help us through life

By Nina Steele 

We spent Christmas with my in-laws and once again I have been touched by their kindness. Since I became part of the family over 14 years ago, I have always been made to feel welcome and our bond has grown stronger as the years have gone by. Of course it wasn’t always that way and there were moments of tension but the love that they and I share for my husband is so strong that it has brought us all together.

Theirs is a strong family unit, which I am now part of and spending another Christmas with them has reminded me how blessed we are to have each other. Nothing moves me more than the kindness of others and they are the kindest people I know. They were there for us when we were trying to conceive and their support never waned even when we made the decision to stop trying and not to go the adoption route.

You hear many stories of interfering in-laws and family feuds and coming from a turbulent background myself, I feel blessed to now be part of such a stable family unit. Whatever choice me make, we know we can count on their support. It is fair to say that they trust us to make good choices and so they don’t have much to worry about.

My husband is used to that type of devotion from his parents and so to him, it is normal. To me however, this is completely new territory and so it took me a while to get used to it and as I grow older, I feel more comfortable with letting my guards down. When you have spent a great part of your life avoiding people you know do not have your best interests at heart, to now find yourself surrounded by people who you know you can count on takes some getting used to. And so, there I was surrounded by very kind and loving people, enjoying this most special of times.

Had anyone told me years ago, when I was still struggling to eat back in the Ivory Coast that one day I would be part of such a family, I would not have believed them and frankly neither would have anyone else. That would have been too far-fetched. But against all the odds, here I am today, the girl from Africa, born out of wedlock, to a loving but dysfunctional family, now part of a stable and loving family unit.

Yes I have come a long way! I suppose this is what it means to dream and boy did I have big dreams back then! Someone once said that poverty often forces people to be over optimistic about life because that is what keeps them going and I totally agree. I always wanted a good man to share my life with and I ended up finding one and when fate decided that we would not have children, I still knew deep down that mine was already a blessed life and so I accepted it wholeheartedly, albeit after some years of soul searching. How could the outcome be any other way, when I know what my fate would have been like had I not moved to the UK? Just thinking about it sends shivers down my spine.

Life can feel like a burden sometime and it is quite a relief to know that there are others ready to lend us a hand should we need it. And so, I am grateful for the love and devotion that my in-laws have shown my husband and I all these years.

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