Scandalous, I know! ;)
Relations become complicated when "in-laws" follow the words mother, father, brother or sister. Often they are considered secondary, for all the natural reasons. Blood is thicker than water. A daughter in law can never replace a daughter, or a father in law can never hold the same place in your heart as your father.
That said, it is not impossible to bring the ties any closer. Most marriageable girls are vary of their in-laws. So was I. Getting married and going to another household was such an imaginable nightmare for me!
In our society, everyone expects the girl tomake most of the adjustments and compromises. No one bothers to think that the girl requires some time to get out of the mental shock of being married and catapulted into a sea of new people. All a girl needs at such times is a lot of understanding and loving words to convey that she is in good hands.
When I met my in laws for the first time, for all the understandable reasons, I was a nervous wreck. The almost engagement ceremony came to an end and we went to see them off, when my (then) would be father in law says "Dear, do come to visit us,. You are always welcome there."
When we did go after a few days, I was feeling odd sitting in their house. Again my father in law, sensing my discomfort says, "Go ahead dear. See your home. It's all yours now."
That instant I felt the ice melt in me. There was this warmth of being accepted. But still there was this spike in mind, I was not yet married. People are known to be extra kind before marriage and the scene changes drastically afterwards. Yes, I am a suspicious woman that way.
Not so soon after, I was to live with my in laws in my pregnant days. That was the time I got to bond with them closely that too without KK in the vicinity. The day KK went back to the US, mother in law said "Please don't hesitate to ask me for anything. If you feel like eating anything or if you need anything, ask freely. Think of me as your mother." I was already in tears but this statement teared me up freshly.
Since then there was no looking back. I found them easy to talk to. I have shared jokes with my father in law like I never thought I could. I found a younger sister in my sister in law who chose me to unburden all her worries. She was fun and mostly proved to be a cusion in the initial days of my stay there. And my mother in law, although is soft spoken and seems naive can make me a victim of a real naughty comment when least expected.
I cannot think of replacing them with my own parents or my sibling but they hold equal importance, love and respect in my heart.
Me, I couldn't possibly think of throwing out the "in laws" part in these relations, But I have certainly come close.