Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The In-Laws

meet the parents
My wife and I have come a long ways in the four years since I was able to talk her into a first date.  I am forever grateful that our chance encounter led to such life-changing events.  I've managed to convince her I was worth keeping, and together we’ve bought a house, gotten married, and are now preparing to bring a child into our lives.  And family has played a large role in each of these endeavors.
But back to the dating. Things were getting serious between us when she asked me to accompany her to Northern Virginia, as her parents were coming down from upstate New York and wanted to meet the guy that their daughter had told them about (and if there was time, me).  With many miles between us I had managed to delay the encounter, but now the time had come, I was going to meet the parents. 
I've never been a charming conversationalist, so I was just a bit intimidated before the meeting.  What I learned about my girlfriend's father on our 3 hour trip did not help matters. He’s not only a marine but also an avid gun collector.  Oh, that makes me feel very comfortable, is there anything else you want to tell me?  Does he have a portable water boarding device as well?  This has been great; just slow down here and I'll jump out.
She managed to keep me in the car and we arrived as scheduled in Alexandria, Va, to head up the Potomac River for a tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. My worrying was unfounded as they quickly made me feel like part of the family. My future mother-in-law was (and is) warm and genuine, and I immediately felt comfortable.  Meanwhile my future father-in-law, like me, enjoyed American History, which made the conversation, the meeting, and the trip all the more enjoyable. To top things off,  I saw no evidence of a torture device...

A Year later....

I was nervous again (I'm a little neurotic), anxiously preparing for another meeting with my future In-laws.  Only this time they were at my house after making the 13 hour trip down to visit their first born daughter.  I was searching for the right time (and words) to ask my future father-in-law for his daughter’s hand in marriage.  Deep breaths.
My wife and her mother went shopping, leaving the two of us on the couch watching a football game.  I waited for the perfect segue to begin my dialogue....And with that the Giants take the lead! Pete, what do you think of marriage? 
The moment never came.  I took a breath, cleared my throat and stammered into the lines that I had practiced, my voice unsteady and shaky as I powered through….your daughter means the world to me….I was hoping to uh……that you would uh…. It was truly a forgettable performance. (Or memorable for all the wrong reasons).
When I was finished, he shifted slightly while gently scratching our dog on his head (the dog never left his side when he was at the house) before saying,

“If she’ll have you then I’ll have you.”
A wave of relief rushed over me, and I was about to say something stupid or ruin our talk gushing over the moment when, with his eyes still on the game, he continued:
“That was a great catch.”
I nodded knowingly, as if to say, I hear ya, let’s not get all emotional here! Meanwhile I was smiling like an idiot. 
I'm lucky, I won the in-law lottery.  Today, geography limits our visits, but technology will keep us connected.  As the baby arrives we will be sure to Skype, facetime, and send way too many pictures via facebook and email.  I look forward to bringing our son up to the North Country to visit with his northern counterparts as well as visits from grandparents to see their daughter and grandson.  As for me, I'm just glad I didn't jump out of the car before that first meeting!


  1. My dad called Wouter "the son-in-law-elect" for almost 10 years . . . and that was before we even started dating - I think you got off pretty easy (and yes, you do have amazing in-laws!)

  2. Oh I loved hearing about your in-laws. And will tell you this my dad actually told my husband when we were dating, "I don't know where you found she found you, but don't ever leave!" I think if you have it in good with the in-laws, you are good to go. That said my in-laws were actually quoted (and have the video proof) on our wedding video saying, "Now I couldn't give him back and he was all mine!" So either way our families approved and I guess we too were ever so lucky, lol!!

    1. It does make all the difference Janine! Thanks!

  3. I loved hearing how you asked for your father-in-law's blessing...sounds similar to when my husband asked my dad. How could you not be a nervous wreck!?? Anyway, it's great when you get along so well with in-laws...I always tell my husband he lucked out in the in-law department because he married a Jewish girl from Long Island (me) and not every Catholic guy from the midwest would be able to bond so readily with his Jewish in-laws. Luckily, I get along great with his parents too so it's a good situation on both ends. Phew!

  4. Glad it worked out for you guys Ohboy, sounds like that could have been quite the situation!

  5. got of easy. My parents shut me out of the room, and grilled my future hubby for 20 minutes and wouldn't let me in the room. It was a lot of pressure for him, but I knew my parents would do that, so I prepared him for it, lol.

  6. Wow, I would have been sweating bullets Cyndi!

  7. Asking the dad for the daughter's hand is a stand up thing to do. Being that I am a female, I never really had to think about stuff like that. It wasn't until many years after my husband and I were married that I even knew that he asked my dad's permission to marry me. And here I thought it was a surprise.

    1. It's funny because, it was almost 6 months after "the talk" that I popped the question. My mother-in-law said, we were wondering when you were going to ask!