I will never forget the first time I met Darin's mother, grandmother and sister-in-law. We had only recently started dating, meeting on my 23rd birthday, set up by his cousin and a friend of mine, Dana, who were dating at the time. I was currently in an off stage of a longtime on-again/off-again relationship and Darin...well, he actually had a longtime girlfriend (though I didn't know that when I agreed to meet him) but he reluctantly agreed to meeting me because he knew that his relationship was on its way down the drain anyway.
We hit it off big time and both immediately cut all ties with our Mr. and Ms. Wrongs.
My birthday was April 19th (the night we met) and this was Mother's Day weekend so just a couple of weeks later...
He had not yet gotten around to telling his parents he had a new girlfriend and I knew that. But Dana, who was dating his cousin, asked me to go to a mother/daughter banquet with her and her boyfriend's (Darin's cousin...did you get that?) mother at their church which just so happened to be Darin's and his parents' church. It's a small southern town so you get the idea.
Darin's mother, his sister-in-law and his grandmother were all at this banquet as well but of course they didn't know me from Eve and I wasn't about to introduce myself to them before Darin had even gotten the chance to tell them I existed.
We had finished our meal and had gone to the dessert table where I loaded my plate down with a little bit of everything (Oh, what I would give to be able to eat like that and stay that skinny still today!). As we were walking back to our table, we paused at their table and Dana said, "This is my friend, Diane. She's Darin's new girlfriend!"
Ohhh....Sh*t. Girl, no you di'int.
Well of course that got their attention real fast since none of them even knew he'd broken up with his other girlfriend. They all three turned their heads in unison and began giving me the once over with their astonished faces.
His grandmother (Momaw) said, "Well, I didn't even know Darin had a new girlfriend!"
And I, the painfully shy introvert, wanted to die. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me and my plate full of cake too.
I don't recall what Pat, my now mother-in-law (who I love to pieces, by the way) said, if anything, but I remember my sister-in-law, Debbie, who is married to Darin's brother, said, "I see she likes to eat! That's good!"
And we walked back to our table on that note where I probably had a WTH? conversation with Dana (who I still love to pieces, by the way).
Fast forward thirteen years to 2007...
Charlie and I had been dating for a few months. I had met his teenage daughter (the youngest of his three children) but had not yet met any of his other family.
He decided it was time to rectify that by having a cookout at his house that would include me and the boys, his children (at least the two who lived in the state...one of them did not at the time), his mother and her husband, his dad and his wife, his uncle, his sister and her husband and a cousin, I think.
And I agreed to it!
When the time came near though I began to wonder what in the world I could have possibly been thinking to take on all that at once because I was a bit of a nervous wreck inside.
His mother and I were in the kitchen shortly after everyone began arriving and she was looking for condiments. She asked me if I had any idea if Chuck (they all call him Chuck) had thought to buy any condiments. I said I was pretty sure he had but did not know where they were.
And I won't ever forget what she said to me next because we still bring it up frequently. She said, "You know...Chuck doesn't think about details...He's a big picture guy...He's an entrepreneur... And those entrepreneurs just don't think like the rest of us! All Chuck knows is he's got a grill!"
She was right but I still love him to pieces. And he did buy the condiments.
The cookout turned out to be a success. I think it was the homemade banana split ice cream I made from a recipe that I got from Pat and Debbie...
I'm not sure if it's entirely true that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach but it certainly does seem to be true of his family!
|My mom, Me, and my Mothers-in-law, Pat and Linda|