1/15/15

Meet the Parents and Have Them Meet the Parents . . .

Even as a teenager (ahhhhh, the Wonder Years) I used to enjoy "learning" people. I enjoyed observation and asking questions slightly off the beaten path and listening for accents or other cues/clues to where someone was from or what values they held, etc. I started profiling people and developing horrible presumptions about what someone's favorite musician might be based on the shoes they were wearing and if they called it a "bag" or a "sack" when at the "grocery store" or "market".

There was NO more fertile ground for someone with my quirk than a college campus in Connecticut. SOOOOOO much JURsey, sooooo many Lawnguylindurs, BrOOKlin folk, MassaCHEWsits expats, and us Up-state-ers and a handful of Pennsylvanians. It wasn't just my peers that fascinated me (with their Volkswagon Jettas and Steve Miller Band CDs and Phish t-shirts and crap-loads of money) . . . it was their PARENTS!

Here's the takeaway (two paragraphs in) . . . if you want to KNOW someone, meet their parents. And I stand by that if they have a wonderful, close loving relationship or if their mothers left them, not able to get ahold of their father, on the steps of an orphanage. We are formed by them and we spend our entire lives chasing or running from "being" them.

I met Special Lady Friend's parents late last April. I went to her sister's wedding and was an otherwise unimportant guest (both bride and groom and big, happy, engaged families) yet I was immediately welcomed and embraced as part of the weekend. It, like fat in a good steak, connected what I had been told, what I had presumed, and what was left unsaid. They made sense. The final pieces of the SLF puzzle were found in the deep shag carpet under the card table.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when SLF met my parents in our driveway at 11 PM on a Tuesday night. I fear that the jigsaw that is me was also completed in those moments or certainly in the weeks that have followed. There is no way she has not had her fill (if not overfill) of the people that made me (for the record I have chased being like them - I adore both of them for a million reasons each (with very little overlap, candidly)).

So all this is going on and then we put a twist on it. We, well in to the process of building a life together, had the parents meet the parents. In Salina, Kansas. On a Tuesday. At a chain steakhouse. Have you ever thought of anything more perfect?

And here's the best part . . . it was delightful. We sat and chatted and laughed and enjoyed each other for three full hours. They just sorta flew by (we had speculated on the way up we might be there 90 minutes or so) and, at the end of the meal in the 12 degree parking light warmed only by the glow of neon signage and promotion banners, we all hugged "good bye" and walked to our respective cars.

It - like the facts that "dog people" are more physically active, men with earrings are more likely to have been divorced (past tense if remarried) or at least unfaithful, and that women who wear flats are usually more fond of science than history - just made sense. People are people. Parents are in their children. Children are their parents.