It’s 230 in the morning and I can’t sleep. This probably has something to do with the fact that at 8p my body told me that it could take no more stress and forced slumber upon me. Now I’m no stranger to stress but today was a particularly rough one. Now, not rough in the sense that it was a bad day, because by no means was it bad — just very long and pretty damn draining. Unless this is your first time visiting my small space that I have carved out here on the interwebs (if so — ‘Hello’) you know that this November Grant* and I are getting hitched. During the past year and a half of our courtship we have hit most of the family milestones — meeting his parents, him meeting my parents, Thanksgiving at my folks, Christmas dinner with his family, taking his younger sisters out for an evening, etc. — and yesterday (Sunday) we engaged in the parents meeting parents tradition.
I’ve been stressing about this all week. Not because I was actually worried about how these two sets of wonderful people would interact (well maybe a little worried), but because everything is oppressively draining at the moment. Workload has doubled, funding the wedding is mildly frightening, our car needs some major maintenance, temporarily living with an extra person, my kid brother is having a crisis but he’s in West Virginia and not being able to be there for him makes me feel helpless. Crap, I sound like a pathetic ninny who is using this post to throw herself a pity party. Alright, enough, moving along — Life, while overall good is a little rocky and throwing parents into the mix just didn’t help.
We decided that the best way to handle this was to invite our parents over for a Sunday lunch at our apartment. First off, cheaper. Secondly, more personal. Thirdly, no worries about who pays the bill if we had opted to go the restaurant route. Having it at our home has some pitfalls. The chief of which is that it’s not a very big apartment and did I mention that Grant’s* two younger sisters were coming too? So now we have a total of 8 people to feed; 6 of which we need to entertain. Saturday we cleaned most of the apartment and did last minute grocery shopping. The plan was to finish everything first thing Sunday morning. We had a plan fail, Grant* had to go into work for a few hours in the morning which left me to handling the tying up the loose ends solo. So there I am, it’s 8a and in 3.5ish hours our guests would be arriving and Grant’s* at work – GAH.
The short of it, is that everything (for the most part) got done. Grant* get’s home at around 11a. My folks show up at 11:10a. My mother is instantly combative. She has a knack for being incredibly judgmental. First there’s a backhanded compliment and then an eyebrow raise and then I say “I need you to play nice today mom”, and she smiles and nods. I love the woman but for fuck sakes does she know how to get under my skin. By this point I have about 2 beers in me (Yes, that’s right, I started drinking before 11a on a Sunday. Go ahead, judge me) and am in no mood for a mother-daughter pissing match. She seems to see this and backs off. The four of us discuss open life items for a bit and a little after 12p, Grant’s* family arrives.
My father stands up and smiles at me as we wait for Grant* to answer the door and lead them up the stairs to where we are patiently/nervously waiting. My father is grand guy — a man’s man in the sense that he is rather large (6′ 2″ / 200ish lbs), is super handy, has historical knowledge that would bowl most professors over, but also not — he doesn’t care for sports or fishing or cigars or other typical All American Man sort of things. He does like the Syfy Channel, and the Xbox I got him for Christmas, and re-purposing wood slabs into tables, and generally being an awesome person. As you can see, my father and I are close and I think the world of him. Perhaps at another time I will do a post where I can expand further about our relationship. Again, moving along (this post is jumping around a bit. I blame it on the fact that it is now 3 in the morning and my brain functionality is failing a bit) –Grant’s mother walks in and give me a big hug. She’s followed by her husband who does the same. Next up are the girls. Everyone shakes hands and introductions are made. With 8 people in our living room there is much chatter. Most of it is coming from Grant’s* side of the family. My mother is an observer. It takes her a little while to warm up to. My father evens this out by being the talker. Small talk is made about traffic and work — the usual stuff people talk about when they aren’t quite sure what to say. I’m splitting my time moderating the conversation and prepping lunch in the kitchen. We all eat and drink a bit and the tension slowly starts to subside.
Since both of our folks live a good distance away from our apartment, I had made an appointment at Kimera Designs so that my mother could see the wedding dress that I picked out. Also, Grant’s* sisters are in the wedding party and with them living 2-hours away I thought that this would be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by having them try on dresses as well. At 230p I round up all the ladies and drive us over to the dress shop. I think I will do a follow-up post on the dress part of this story for it’s mildly lengthy, but the main portion of that piece is that I found the dress and everyone loved it and apparently I look beautiful in it. My parents have been lovely in the fact that they offered to buy my dress for me, and mom put down the deposit today. One more thing checked off the list of ‘wedding to do’s'!
The ladies and I get back to our apartment around 5p to find that the men are all watching Nascar. I can tell that this was not my father’s doing, but he is a good sport about it. Snacks are pulled out and more wine is poured and chatter begins again. Everyone is getting along from what I can tell, but people are starting to get tired. At around 6p my parents graciously leave. Hugs are had and hands are shook. Grant* and I walk them out and I receive large hugs from both of them. They looked relieved. Back upstairs my soon to be in-laws are hanging out and I get into a conversation with Grant’s* mother about the relationship I have with my mom. It was nice to talk about it but I think that I didn’t do my mother any justice. She’s a hard woman. Some would say a little on the cold side. Our problem is, in a lot of ways I am just like her. In any case, Grant’s family heads out around 7p and we say our goodbye’s.
Once back in the apartment I can feel a weight has been lifted off both of us. The air in the room feels less thick and I can breathe again. We’re both lucky in the sense that we both genuinely like and care for our future in-laws. I think that this expansion of our families is going to work but I think as a general rule we will be limiting the amount of occurrences of having both sets of family in our apartment. At least until there’s a kid in the picture. I’m pretty sure there will be far more drop-ins and reasons for a visit if there is a grandchild to dote over, but for now I only want to host one crazy family at a time.