The other day we met the future family-in-law.
The parents and sibling of my soon-to-be daughter-law.
We have had this luncheon planned for a while since the in-laws live in Queens and we are in Philadelphia. Even though the luncheon is not until two o’clock, we get up early and drive to NYC so we can stop in Brooklyn to pick up my bike, which has been sitting there chained to a railing since son moved to Queens.
I have made brownies and cookies for dessert. We grab the goodies and hit the road.
It only takes us two hours to get to Brooklyn. We do a few errands and Philly gets the bike unlocked from the railing. Then we Google Map it to Queens. Even though it is not that far away, it will take us an hour. Because that is how NYC is. Crowded with traffic.
We drive. We pass many neighborhoods. When we get close to the in-laws neighborhood all the houses are detached with yards and driveways. It is very nice.
I say to Philly, “This is nice.”
When we arrive “L”, the dad, is standing outside helping direct us to which driveway to park. Philly pulls the car WAY in.
“That is too far.” I say.
He backs it out.
Now “S”, the mom, is at the door. We get out of the car and greet everyone, including Future-Daughter-in-law. I am thinking it will be handshakes but it is hugs AND handshakes.
I can tell this will be a fun visit.
We go in. On the table are various Guyanese dishes set up like a buffet. Future-Daughter-in-law family is from Guyana. The food looks very appealing.
Before we eat we sit down on the couch to chat. We talk about our trip. “M”, the brother, comes in and says hello. We are not sure if he will be staying around. Future-Daughter-in-law has informed us maybe yes, maybe no.
Turns out, he sticks around.
“Let’s see Future-Daughter-in-law’s baby pictures!” I say.
Future-Daughter-in-law trots off to the other room and returns with three books. She hands me the first one.
One by one we look at the cute baby pictures. We see other family members. Future-Daughter-in-law has a large family. Both her parents are one of ELEVEN.
Now it is time to eat. Future-Daughter-in-law explains what each dish is. There is also bread that is like Naan but called something else that I am forgetting right now. And spicy sauce. I fill my plate with a little bit of everything and some bread and return to my perch on the couch.
Philly also fills his plate but he takes some spicy sauce. Which prompts a conversation about all things spicy. And it is soon discovered there is HOMEMADE spicy sauce in a jar in the fridge. Philly tries this.
I am a little afraid for him on the spicy.
But it works out.
Everything is delicious!
Next we start talking sports. Apparently, “L” is a big fan of tennis, both watching and playing. Coincidentally, so is Philly. In fact, he used to teach tennis. There is a lot of tennis talk. I myself do not play. But mostly everyone else does.
“Maybe you can teach me.” I say.
This brings us to Cricket. I really have no idea what Cricket is. Turns out I have Cricket confused with Croquet. After some maneuvering by the Millenials, we wind up using the CAST feature on the iphone to watch Cricket on the big screen TV.
I try to follow along with this unfamiliar game. Future-Daughter-in-law is laughing. I think she has heard a lot about CRICKET in her life.
Soon it is time for embarrassing stories of son’s youth. Since we are discussing Future-Daughter-in-law’s propensity to climb things aggressively when she was young, I decide to share how son was quite the opposite. How son would let other kids cut in front of him in line for the slide. Or how in MIDDLE SCHOOL he would just let other kids take his beloved Yugio cards.
“Didn’t you let someone take your iPod?” I ask.
“No.” son says. “I lost it, remember?”
“Ah, yes. Now I remember. One of many.” I say.
I am looking at son and Future-Daughter-in-law. They really are perfect for each other.
Philly asks the parents, “When did you know son was THE ONE?”
“S” answers, “You will have to ask her.” And she gestures at her daughter.
“L” chimes in. “One day they were sitting here not talking. Just both reading together. She over here and he over there.”
“And you knew?” I say.
Meanwhile Brother “M” is enjoying the cookies and brownies. He is funny in the way a younger brother can be. I am glad he decided to stick around.
I think to myself: What a fun family.
At first “S” was quiet. But I know from stories she is not always this way. It just takes her awhile to warm up. As our day goes on she opens up more. She is very funny! And I am envious of how close her son seems to be with her. He gets right next to her. He even pets her hair.
Future-Daughter-in-law tells us, “He is a mama’s boy.”
I tell son, “See?”
Son says, “You are giving her ideas.”
Some more conversation about work and the love of airplane parts and I find out right then and there and then a honeymoon has been booked. I am surprised since originally there was no honeymoon. I give son the why-didn’t-you-tell-me-this-major-news look.
“I was going to tell you tomorrow on Facetime.” he says.
“Who are you?” I say. Because I really do not understand him.
It is getting late. We need to get on the road to drive back to Philadelphia. As we are gathering our things “L” asks, “So if I ask you a question do you promise to answer honestly?”
“I promise.” I say.
He makes me pinky swear.
“Did you like the food?”
“Yes!” I say. “It was delicious!”
And with that we get a whole big bunch of food to take home in a large bag!
“Thank you!” I say.
“It was really great to meet you.” Philly says.
“Yes.” I say.
“Very nice to meet you too.” They say as we all walk towards the door.
I turn to “S” and I give her a hug. I think: Soon we will be related!
We all make the rounds with the hugging goodbyes. I say goodbye to son, but only for two weeks since I will see him soon for daughter’s 21st birthday.
We hop into the KIA. “L” says, “I like this car.”
I say, “I know! Isn’t it great!”
And off we go, back towards home.
I turn to Philly and I ask, “How do you think it went?”
He says, “Great. They are really good people.”
I say, “Yes, I think so too.”
As we are driving I think: Soon son with be married to Future-Daughter-in-law.
I am so happy for them. Plus we will gain a whole big family with all kinds of different customs and a lot of common interests.
Just like that. Our own family grows.
I feel very lucky.
Yes I do.