I occasionally drop by these boards in order to gripe about my in-laws. They’re the hardcore fundamentalists who shunned my wife when she dated me, married me and became Catholic. But now I’d like to gripe about my own family, and my wife’s disposition toward them.
Me and the missus are fighting right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly my fault, although I have to stand on some principles that make it difficult to grovel so completely I have to look UP to see dirt. Here’s some background:
Before we were engaged, we visited my folks out west. Mom, never one to back down from perceived threats to her dignity, took my comment “Most Catholics don’t know their faith very well,” to mean “Mom, you’re a bad parent and probably Satan incarnate because you don’t do apologetics work.” The ensuing fight was an embarassment to my future wife and my brother’s girlfriend.
Before the wedding, my sister waited so long to get her bridesmaid’s dress that she almost didn’t get it.
My sister didn’t bother to try it on before the wedding, and she was mortified to discover that, ah, she was far too…shall we say, “proportioned” to fit into it. Luckily she was able to hold the bouquet in front of her.
Seven hours before the bridal shower, I knew my mom, sister and brother’s girlfriend would be late to it. Granted, they were here in D.C., an unfamiliar town with a seemingly complicated Metro system. But I took great pains to ensure they’d be on time. I drew maps, gave them options, offered to drive them. Instead, they had to shop for just the right shoes. They ended up being about three hours late, and the hostess of the party, a good friend of mine, was shocked at their rudeness. You can imagine how my bride felt…
My brother, who was my best man, was basically useless. He took no initiative for anything. He didn’t even bother to offer to take my tux back the next day.
I understand that he was probably distracted–he recently found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. Did I mention that it’s his second child? The first he had with his former wife of nine months, give or take. He’ll get around to getting the annullment taken care of.
Back at home, my brother and his girlfriend live with my parents. Together. This used to be a fairly strong Catholic family. Somewhere along the way, they just sort of gave up and went with the flow. My wife, who grew up under the stern gaze of an authoritarian patriarch, is astonished that my dad, who, for certain reasons, I respect very much, does nothing to root out this great moral problem under his own roof.
Now, before you think my family is a bunch of gap-toothed rednecks, well, they aren’t, really. Kind of. You’d never be hard-pressed to find a can of Copenhagen in my family’s home, but it’s a big, nice home, with lots of expensive toys. The world would gauge their material possessions as “success.”
But, I love them. They love me, although they think I’m getting a little too big for my britches (Mostly metaphorically speaking) because I’ve adopted a lot of the “East Coast” way of living. They’re crude, poorly educated but not stupid–or unopinionated-- and beyond hilarious. I miss them very much every day. And I won’t ever live near them again because my wife hates their guts and the place I’m from.
I understand where she’s coming from. She’s Catholic now, but she’s still got that fundamentalist mindset when it comes to the family. She’s also fairly worldly, or wants to be. She likes the “sophistication” of D.C. city living, and she judges my family to be something the Clampet’s would be embarassed about.