Today was actually a really great day. Not because anything super-interesting happened. It’s just that my husband and I took MY parents and HIS parents out to lunch. Yes, you read that correctly. My parents. His parents. Us. We went to lunch to-geth-er. Without any special occasion where we HAD to get together. No birthdays. No anniversaries. Just lunch, and we meant to do it.
Most people seem to either really like or simply hate their in-laws. When I was married before, my in-laws and I got along with each other but that was about it. It’s not like my ex-in-laws were mutants or anything. We just didn’t “get” each other. For some reason my FIL called me “Meg” because he once said I looked like Meg Ryan. (Disclaimer: I was married to his son long before Meg had all of that plastic surgery that made her look like a fish, so I have always taken his calling me Meg as a compliment and not an insinuation that I look like Nemo.)
Fast forward several years – I am now married to a great man, Dale, who truly has the most wonderful parents, whose style and personalities growing up could not be on more opposite sides of the spectrum from my parents, who are also pretty wonderful.
For many years, Dale’s father was the President of a record company. His parents met when his mom was working at a record store and his dad walked in. He says he made a cat-call whistle in his mind when he looked at her, and asked her out. They got married during lunch one day after he said “Hey, wanna go get married today?” so they did. He had a big scruffy beard, smoked cigarettes, and wore clothes that were either made of leather or polyester and usually had some kind of fringe hanging off. She wore hot pants and halter tops with white patent leather knee-high go-go boots & big hoop earrings. In other words, they were hippie fabulous.
My parents were equally as fabulous but were considered to be more on the more conservative side. My parents met in college and after getting married in a small Southern Baptist church, my mom became a teacher and my dad joined the military, went on to law school and eventually became a Judge. (That resulted in my very strict upbringing, but that too is another story). My mom, Ninny, wore full skirts and shirts with Peter Pan collars, and my dad was the “Hey, want to wear my letter sweater” kind of guy. You get the picture.
Before getting married, my husband and I got our parents together for a “trial run” before the wedding just to make sure there wouldn’t be any crazy interactions at the reception. You would think that two sets of adults that had such different lifestyles for years would not be able to carry on a normal conversation, but when these four people met it was like they had been friends since birth. They laughed. They told jokes. They liked each other immediately. I was relieved.
Watching them interact together makes me understand that we all have the opportunity to be great friends with people who don’t normally “fit” with us…but ones whose friendships could become our greatest and most treasured gifts.
We went to a fantastic new restaurant today to have our annual Christmas lunch – yes, I know its July, but for various reasons we had not been able to get together until now. The restaurant was called Antebellum in Flowery Branch, GA (yep – that’s a plug because it was THAT DARN GOOD), and the menu was full of wonderful Southern fare that makes your arteries close up a bit and your blood pressure elevate just by reading the menu. We laughed and stuffed ourselves silly on fried green tomatoes, pimento cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries, and Jack Daniels bread pudding. (Seriously – this chef is a GENIUS. Jack Daniels in a dessert? Good grief I love the South). Yes, please. I’ll have another.
The conversation was all over the place: We talked about how viruses can spread on a cruise ship since it’s like a floating petri dish; how to keep those damn squirrels from gnawing holes in your tomatoes; and how my mom unintentionally-on-purpose uses her middle finger to adjust her glasses when she thinks you’re doing something idiotic, silently giving you the bird without you always catching on.
And as I sat back and watched my mother lovingly fight a fork dual with my husband for the last bite of peach dessert with lavender ice-cream, I was reminded of how lucky I am that I have two Moms as well as two Dads that I absolutely adore, and who are equally quirky and unintentionally hilarious. The go-go boots and letter sweaters are long gone and are replaced with bifocals and more comfortable shoes, but the laughter and love remains the same, and I can quite honestly say that my life just can’t get any more blessed than this.
Do you and your in-laws get along? Share your story!
And be sure to check out www.antebellumrestaurant.com for more information on the incredible restaurant we visited.