Many years ago I fell in love with a good 'ol Southern boy. He was charming and attractive and treated me like his world would stop if I experienced one moment of discomfort. He was kind and attentive and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. It didn't matter to me that he was from a very hot climate and I was from a very cold climate. I was willing to move to a middle ground so neither of us would suffer. It didn't matter that he didn't have a lot of money. Money just bought you things, not a man who could and would write 2 page love letters and send flowers "just because."
I thought for sure that this Southern boy came from a genteel old world Southern family who drank mint juleps and wore crisply lined poplin pants and oozed that charm you always see on TV.
I was wrong. Hubby's parents are quirky. They like Jeff Foxworthy and they are LIKE Jeff Foxworthy and...well...the exact opposite of Hubby. Now I can see them for who they are. But it has taken 15 years for us to find a place where they don't think I hate them and I don't feel like they disapprove of Hubby marrying me. And it all started Christmas day in 1995.
Hubby and I lived 10 hours away by car from my midwestern family and 10 hours by car from his Southern family. That first Christmas we were married we didn't have enough money to travel to either homeplace nor could we take the time off of work to do so, but we didn't know who to invite to our house. We didn't want to offend either set of parents, so we invited both sets to spend Christmas with us. That turned out to be a huge mistake.
Both parents came to us that year, mine stayed in a hotel two blocks away and Hubby's stayed in our guest room. All was going well until Hubby's parents rented the movie "The Shawshank Redemption." This is a great movie. I have watched this movie several times. Heck, it was filmed in Ohio, I know some of the extras in it. But this movie has a very heart wrenching suicide scene in it and this was only our second Christmas after my brother had committed suicide. While by then we had moved on in our grief, the holidays still made us tender.
Anywho, I asked my in-laws not to watch the movie while my parents were around, but my in-laws chose to ignore my request. One thing led to another, things got very tense, and my parents ended up hiding out in my kitchen while I sat in my closet crying and whisper-screaming at my husband about how insensitive his parents were being to my family's feelings for not being more sensitive about the movie. Of course my apartment was very small and my parents could still hear the movie in the kitchen, so when the aforementioned scene came on, my dad lost his temper, took my mom and stormed out, swearing he would never again be in the same room with my in-laws. It was a horrible day in my life.
My dad was true to his word. When E was born the grandparents took turns sharing events in her life. My mom got the actual birth but the in-laws got the baptism (they're more religious). But now that my parents live so close, it is not so easy to explain to E why she couldn't have all 4 grandparents in the same room. So today, my dad conceded and we all went to lunch together. All last night I made myself sick with worry about what was going to happen. Was my dad going to say something rude and start an argument? Was my father-in-law going to try to manhandle me (as he has a tendency to do) and piss my parents off? Was I going to make it?
Do you know what happened? Nothing. They were all civil and polite and pleasant towards each other. No one was exactly ecstatic to be there, but for the love of E, they were all trying their best to just get along.
And now you'll excuse me while I go watch the pigs fly over while Hell freezes below.