I've been thinking a bit about how I interact with my future in-laws. The relationship is generally good, but it does have its rough spots.
Before I continue further, I suppose I should provide the latest update regarding cousin A., the twelve year old junior bridesmaid in our wedding. A.'s mother K. wrote to say that A. has found some shoes to wear with her strapless dress... shoes with three inch heels. So, let us recap... we have a 12 year old who is not horribly used to wearing heels or full length strapless dresses wearing both who must traverse a very long marble church aisle and steps into the altar sanctuary while holding a bouquet. K's comment about A.'s shoes: "they were what A. wanted". Believe me, those were so very much not the words to say.
At least Fiancee S. and I are feeling some comfort because my parents immediately grasped why we might not like A.'s choices of attire for our wedding.
All that aside, I was made aware of another small wrinkle concerning my relationship with my future in-laws at the bridal shower about 10 days ago.
K. passed me a message from her mother, B. -- who is also Fiancee S.'s godmother. Evidently, B. doesn't feel that I am somehow warm and welcoming enough to her (or something) and its making her uncomfortable. K. therefore asked me to make sure to be especially nice to B. while I visited at the bridal shower in order to promote peace and harmony in the family.
I won't say that I've been deliberately stand-offish to B., and this request caught me by surprise. I think I have been a little reserved though. Two reasons come to mind when I think about why. First off, B. has been known to drive Fiancee S. more than a little crazy at times. It's a basically loving, family kind of crazy... but I hesitate to seek the full embrace of someone who drives someone I love up the wall at times.
On another level, my immediate family doesn't act like Fiancee S.'s family in a lot of ways. I suppose it stems from the fact that neither of my parents live in their home town and both their families live far away (one state away in the case of my Mom, several in the case of my Dad.) A lot of Fiancee S.'s family grew up here and live here, with all the familiarity and baggage that it can entail. So, Fiancee S.'s family often don't hesitate to give their $0.02 about each other's lives... and are clannish in a way that my family is not (at least most of the time...)
I've also been on my own for most of the last thirteen years. I'm just not used to having hordes of family around everywhere. Fiancee S.'s family therefore can be a little intimidating, I will admit.
I remember wondering to my Mom if I should ask my Dad about what it's like to fit in with your wife's family. She responded that she thought that my Dad never did completely fit in with them... That conversation has come more to mind again recently, and I understand more than ever what she meant. I'm marrying into their family, but, that doesn't mean that they will ever completely be my family.
on 2004-04-28 at 4:12 p.m.
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