Since Katrina, I have been living in the same town as my in-laws, which is a very new experience for me. Can you give me some tips on how to get along?
Patty G., Lakeview
In the wake of Katrina, we’ve rediscovered what it means to be dependent on family. In addition to emotional support, many of us are relying on in-laws for assistance in basic living arrangements. I spent the first couple of weeks with my in-laws as well, before we moved to our own apartment. My best advice is to focus on the positives. Enjoy the opportunity to strengthen these relationships. Because they probably haven’t experienced a tragedy like this in their own lives, it may be hard for them to know exactly what you need. Assess which in-law can best help you with a specific need, then ask for help—don’t wait for them to offer. And don’t hold grudges if they can’t help you or make mistakes when trying. This is a new and unexpected time for all of us. Living closely with family members will enable you to get to know them better; you can learn about their hobbies, their jobs, their communities and which sports they enjoy. Take an interest in what they’re doing and who they are. And, of course, be
gracious and thankful for all the support they are offering you. Make the most of your new town by exploring activities that may be different from the ones available in New Orleans: Visit local museums, restaurants and festivals; go to the ballet, opera or symphony and ask your in-laws to join you. Seeing that life goes on will reassure you that your own life will get on track again soon.