There are few things more nerve-wracking than meeting the family of the guy you are falling in love with. Maybe cliff diving or porcupine wrestling. And yes, I just said falling in love…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. 🙂 Things with Josh were going really well. At first, there was a little bit of an adjustment period because the guys I had been dating were the super social, stay out til midnight, wine and dine me types. With Josh, things were much slower-paced and it definitely took me a few weeks to get used to. We got into our first baby argument because my friends kept asking us to go out with them and he was more into having a quiet night at home. I got frustrated because I wanted them to get to know him and he got frustrated because I was acting like he never wanted to go out at all. At the heart of my frustration was a fear that my friends wouldn’t like him and a need for reassurance that they did. Every relationship leaves you with baggage and one of my carry-ons was the overwhelming fear that my friends and family would hate the person I was with. I am all too familiar with what this feels like because they sure didn’t like Jeff and I really only found out the extent of their dislike/mistrust/and yes even hatred, until well after we broke up. I wasn’t entirely shocked to get this news, but I was a tad bit surprised no one had really said anything in the entire seven years that we were together. I get that whole not wanting to be the messenger that gets shot thing. It’s scary and uncomfortable trying to tell a friend or loved one that you don’t like the person they love. How do you hurt them like that? What if your relationship is damaged by this truth? Better to leave well enough alone. Right?…….
Truth be told, I think I knew it in my heart all along. And I don’t know what I would have done if one of my friends came to me and flat-out said, “Oh yeah, you know that guy you are in love with? He kinda sucks. Just thought you should know.” I honestly don’t know.
Anyway, back to Josh…I liked him a lot..besides that one little argument that wasn’t really an argument..things were going great. And really, I think that it was important for us to get our feelings out. Communication is SO CRUCIAL to any relationship and if two people can’t talk about things that are bothering them in a healthy way, it’s never going to work. We didn’t raise our voices, we didn’t say anything hurtful, we just explained how we felt about the situation, saw each others’ side and worked out a way to compromise. It was shockingly easy and gave me a really good feeling about how things would be for us in the future. My arguments with Jeff had NEVER been easy. They were passionate and ugly and somehow at the end of them I always felt like the bad guy…felt like I had to apologize for feeling any way I was feeling. It sucked. A lot.
Things with Josh however, didn’t suck :)…in fact, they were downright awesome. So awesome in fact, that he invited me to his grandmother’s 80th birthday party..where I would be meeting his entire family for the first time. And so began the slow build of panic. Now I knew I shouldn’t be nervous, I was awesome with parents, but you always have that fear that they won’t like you…or equally as bad, you won’t like them. And what do you do in the event that something like this happens? A dear friend of mine recently told me about a relationship her brother was in once. The girl he was dating had a pretty rocky relationship with her own family and so was jealous of how close he was with his. She could never really bond with his family and it caused a lot of drama and the eventual demise of the relationship. I had been really lucky with this so far, as most of my boyfriends have had awesome families. The dads and brothers are always super easy to win over…it’s the moms and sisters you have to worry about. One mom in particular was a real tough cookie. I could never tell if she liked me and if I’m being honest here, I think she would have rather seen her son with some 90 lb blonde who wore Lilly Pulitzer and pearls and had perfectly manicured nails at all times. First of all..I am NOT and NEVER WILL BE 90 lbs…which is fine with me. I’m 5’9 and a half so I would look like a walking skeleton..which is not cute..so no thanks. I have also never had anything Lilly on my body ever..No offense to anyone who is a fan, but I just can’t fathom why anyone would want tiny whales or palm trees on their ass. And finally..my hands are usually covered in multiple paint colors or wood stain from art projects…my nails are short so I can play the guitar and I got tired of paying the tiny ladies at the nail salon to mutter disapprovingly to each other about my disgraceful situation. So, needless to say…that relationship was rather strained.
So while I was excited to meet Josh’s family, I was also a little freaked out…and by a little, I mean a LOT. He is one of 7, so to say that I would have a lot of people to impress is quite the understatement. He has a HUGE family. Which is one of the things I like so much about him. His family tree is a liiiiiitle confusing and I’ve only just NOW got it straight…so here’s the rundown:
Josh’s parents were both married once before. His mom got married to her high school sweetheart (not his dad) and in fact, I’m pretty sure he proposed on prom night. Those two had two of Josh’s older siblings. You with me so far? Josh’s dad was also married before and had two more older siblings with that woman. Then Josh’s mom and dad got together and had his younger brother and younger sister…whew…so…to recap. There are three girls and four boys and Josh is smack dab in the middle.
Now this whole idea of his parents being married and divorced multiple times brought a new question into my head. His older sister was also in the middle of a not so nice divorce and it put a little hiccup in my brain. What effect would/could this have on Josh’s ability to have a healthy and lasting relationship? I have often wondered if having divorced parents makes someone more likely to get divorced themselves? Or in fact could it do the opposite and make them more determined to work things out BECAUSE of their own experiences?
The Daily Beast published an article stating that “if your parents were divorced, you’re at least 40 percent more likely to get divorced than if they weren’t. If your parents married others after divorcing, you’re 91 percent more likely to get divorced.” Pretty scary stuff, though I’m not sure where they are getting their data, so take this with a grain of salt.
With all of this rattling around in my head I could barely focus enough to pick out what to wear. And really, what DO you wear when trying to impress your new guy’s loved ones??? I needed Cher’s closet from Clueless and this computer program…and STAT!
I changed three times..ok…more like six, but finally got myself together enough to get out the door, picked up a pot of daffodils for Josh’s Nanny (that’s what he calls her…could this guy get any more adorable?) and headed to his house.
Three hours later we were driving back to his house after a whirlwind of an afternoon. I shouldn’t have worried. They were warm and loud and funny and so easy to be around. His sisters wanted to know all the details about how we met and his brothers wrapped me in big brother bear hugs. His step-dad and I bonded over our love for lighthouses and his mom made a joke about how she was basically hugging my boobs when she gave me a hug goodbye. She is tiny, like my mom, and anyone who can make a boob joke on the first afternoon we meet is kind of awesome. I left there, head spinning and a warm glow filling my insides. Crisis averted!
“What do you think?” Josh asked me in the car. I gave his hand a squeeze and started grinning. “They’re perfect.”