Sunday, February 20, 2005

Meet the Fockers

Ever since we realized that our parents would have to meet, Bryan and I have been nervously joking about taking our parents to see "Meet the Fockers", the sequel to "Meet the Parents", about the hilarity that ensues when 2 very different sets of prospective in-laws meet after their children get engaged. Whenever one of our respective parental units would do something crazy or embarrassing, that set of parents (usually Bryan's, surprisingly) would be designated as "The Fockers".

So now that I had met my own future in-laws, and that had gone smoothly, the only thing left was to introduce my parents and Bryan's. I was even more nervous about this than about meeting Bryan's mother. Whereas I know I am capable of getting along with most anyone, one of my parents (not my mother, I'll give you a hint) is completely lacking in social skills of any sort, has no concept of what is appropriate and inappropriate to say (this same parent once made a racist Hispanic joke to my uncle, about 3 weeks after the same uncle had adopted a daughter from Costa Rica), and is given to shouting, talking with his mouth full of food, and stubbornly ignoring any sort of subtle hints from family members.

I figured the best way to cross this delicate line was to have the mothers meet beforehand, that way at least Bryan's mother would know my mother was normal. So, after my final on Thursday, the 3 of us met up and went bridal gown shopping. Instant success! The two moms bonded over which of the dresses they liked the best (all 3 of us actually agreed there). It was a bit awkward in the bridal salon, where the saleswoman asked me to strip down to my undergarments, in front of Bryan's mom, whom I had only met the night before. I mumbled something aloud to the effect of "How nice - you've now seen more of me than Bryan ever has" - a true and somewhat scary sentiment.

Then the moms and I went to go check out hotels to decide where to put up the out of town guests.

Bryan and I had a wedding to go to Thursday night, but thought that introducing the parents was more important. The chuppah was called for 7:30, so we figured if we did dinner at 6:15, and came to dinner dressed for the wedding, we could probably make it to the wedding right after the chuppah ended. Not too shabby.

My family arrived at the restaurant first. My parents, in a display of startling social skills, had already pre-directed the waiter not to let Bryan's dad handle the bill, but instead gave the waiter their credit card before the meal had even started. That way, all the waiter would bring would be the chit to sign, when it would be too late to argue over the bill.

I glimpsed Bryan's family approaching and that dreaded feeling of doom settled deep into the pit of my stomach. We started out the meal as my family sitting together and Bryan's family sitting together. Then Bryan's dad swapped with me so he could sit next to my mom, followed by Bryan's mom swapping with Bryan so she could sit next to my dad. when they started slapping each other high-fives across the table, and singing old South African songs (did I mention my dad is South African?). I figured we were home free. Of course, my dad then decided to share his favorite racially slurred joke, which did not elicit that much laughter. My mom made a swift recovery, though.

Eventually, Bryan and I realized we weren't so much a part of this dinner, as much as 2 people sitting at the kiddie table talking to ourselves, so we gracefully slipped out and made it to the wedding before the chuppah. We left the parents talking there for another hour and a half, over coffee and desserts. Apparently they even talked the dreaded wedding finances and everyone was in agreement and there wasn't a single issue there, either.

The next day, we took Bryan's parents to our intended wedding site. Although its pretty much too late now to change it, I did want to make sure my MIL was happy with the site before we proceeded forward. I was worried she would think it wasn't fancy enough (because we did not choose the most fancy place out there). When she got there she gasped....and said it must be the most beautiful place in all of Israel to get married and how much she loved the place, and how much her friends would love it. Success again.

About 2 hours before Shabbat Bryan realized he lacked plates, baking tins, and silverware, and thus, Shabbat lunch was moved to my house. Yikes! 2 hours, no ingredients, in order to make my future mother-in-law lunch! There was no way I could dazzle her with my cooking. So I settled for cleaning up the house well, putting fresh flowers out, and whipping up a simple but healthy lunch. Afterwards, I wooed her with bridal magazines. Its amazing, the power of the bridal magazines.

We also had Friday night dinner at my parents house, with Bryan's parents, where there was even more high-fiving, laughter and raucous singing of Afrikaans songs. Yet for some reason, Bryan's parents still weren't sick of my folks, and invited my folks out to dinner Saturday night as well. To the new Limonim restaurant. My review will follow, but I wasn't that impressed. Bryan's cousins (who are slightly older than my parents) joined us, and it was discovered that cousin Ian went to primary school with my dad! It was like a reunion. The 3 men (Bryan's dad, my own dad and Ian) sat at one end of the table talking the whole night, the 3 ladies sat together and talked about raising children and the like, and Bryan and I again sat at the kiddie table talking to ourselves!

I noticed at one point that Ian's wife mentioned to my mother about all the intermarried cousins. In fact, Bryan and I are breaking new ground. He is the first out of all the cousins from his generation (1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins) to be marrying a Jew. Anyway, when the cousin mentioned it, I saw Bryan's mom shoot her the same kind of look I had been shooting my dad all evening, the "please shut up - things were going so well and now you've ruined it with your skeletons in the closet" look. My mom must have noticed it too, because she then pointed out that my siblings and I are the only Jewish grandchildren my grandparents had, because everyone else intermarried.

Across the table, Bryan's dad (a lawyer) was sharing how he had recently bailed his daughter's boyfriend out of prison, after he got arrested for assault. I was worried my dad would chime in with the story of me bailing my little borther out of prison for assault (true story) but thankfully, my dad kept silent for the first time the whole weekend.

Tonight, we tackle the engagement party [if you are a friend of mine who has somehow not received the invitation via email, please call me or email].


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whew! I was scared for a moment. When you mentioned "...all the intermarried cousins", I was sure you meant that they had married EACH OTHER! When I realized you were talking about marrying out of the religion I was like, Oh, that's ok... we all have a few of those in the family. :-)


2:48 PM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

I thought you meant they had married each other too, I was busy thinking "well at least that will freshen up the gene pool a little". Looks like you didn't find anything in Tel Aviv, sorry.

4:57 PM  

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