The Real Truth about Meeting the Parents

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There have been movies about about it: "Father of the Bride", "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and most recently (and probably the most popular) "Meet the Parents". We laugh when viewing these movies and think of them as merely entertainment. I am here to tell you that there is a lot of truth to the old saying, "Art Imitates Life" when referring to MEETING THE PARENTS.


Photo by Andrew Morrell.

Next weekend, Robby and I will meet Kevin's parents for the first time. We are throwing the kids an engagement party Saturday evening and his parents will be arriving here in Louisiana from Kentucky, Friday. That evening, we will have them over for dinner while we all get acquainted with the future in-laws of our respective children. Since this is their first time to do this, I am sure his parents are a little more apprehensive about the meeting than we are; this is our third time to "Meet The Parents".

Although Kevin's parents may be a little more nervous about our upcoming meeting than us, I totally understand how they are feeling. Justin was our first to get married. Sarah was from Arkansas and naturally we had never met her parents. So, when Justin announced that he and Sarah were engaged, I immediately got on the Internet to search the proper etiquette for the groom's responsibilities concerning the engagement and wedding. I noticed that it stated the groom's parents should call, introduce themselves and then set up a meeting for the parents' and newly engaged couple. The next day found me on the telephone doing just that. I introduced myself to Sarah's mother, set up a time for us to drive to Arkansas to meet them and checked that off of my list. THAT was the easy part.

We drove to Arkansas the day before we were to "meet the parents", checked into our hotel... and THEN I began to get nervous. This thing was about to happen and really, I was feeling a bit out of my comfort zone. As we browsed around the quaint little town that day, we kept getting phone calls from our other three children: "Have you met the parents yet? Have you met the parents yet?... Have you met the parents yet?"

"OH MY GOSH!!! NO! We are not meeting them until dinner time."

Ryan was specifically enjoying this upcoming meeting. He kept referencing a movie that had recently come out at theatres, "Along Came Polly", as he asked his dad if they were going to take us out for ethnic food so there would be the possibility of going back to their house, stopping their toilet up and then overflowing it. Sighing, I told him that we were most likely just going to a steak house or something; not to worry about that.

Later that day, we got the call from the kids: "My parents want to take y'all to our favorite Mexican restaurant", Sarah said. Robby ordered a salad for dinner.

After dinner, we were invited back to our future daughter-in-law's home to visit for a while before heading back to our hotel. Upon arriving, Sarah's mother poured each of us a glass of champagne to toast the upcoming marriage of our children. While Sarah's father and I sipped on our glass, I noticed that Robby and her mother had downed their first glass and started on a second one. Hmmm... I wondered if that had some sort of hidden meaning.

We sat down to visit for a few minutes and were suddenly introduced to the other two members of their family: their King Cavalier dogs. Now, I will let a dog jump up in my lap ANY day of the week, it just doesn't bother me. Robby, on the other hand, is a little more reserved about such things. And THAT is precisely why what happened next, tickled my funny bone beyond belief! Those two playful pups took right to HIM. And by that, I mean they climbed right up his chest and were staring him directly in the eye. I smiled as I watched him gently stroke their backs, all the while on the inside rolling around and guffawing! THIS was GREAT stuff!

We said our good-byes, got into our car and simply stared at one another for a moment. I immediately began to laugh as Robby picked the dog hair off of his black sweater. We had survived "meeting the parents"... WHEW!

Well, the next "meeting of the parents" for my second son's wedding came a little easier. And now... it is my desire to put this new set of parents at ease during our meeting. I want to offer them some down home, southern hospitality complete with a relaxed dinner of perhaps gumbo and French bread. I hope that they will be instantly put at ease around us, although our initial introductions I'm sure will be a bit awkward; that is just normal. But, as they said in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding": Some of us are apples, some are oranges, but in the end... we are all just fruits!

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