As Ginger and The Earl prepare for the upcoming nuptials of their daughter DeeDee (Doctor Daughter), I am reminded of all the things that I dealt with during the preparation for the marriage of GenCo. Having a hundred guests invade your home can be stressful and preparing for it is both physically and emotionally draining. If I wasn’t out in the yard moving rocks and tending the lawn, I was thinking about all the things that still needed to get done. That wasn’t all I thought about though, I thought quite a bit about how the day would go, which brought me to the following…
When it comes to family gatherings I’m not a big fan. I don’t know why. Maybe there is some past event wedged into my subconscious that makes me adverse to sitting around and sharing with my extended family all the details of my life. It’s not the same as gathering with friends, where you meet as equals. With family you come together all carrying many titles. Brother-in-law, uncle, father, and future in-law… we all have many titles when we sit together as a family.
Each one of these titles carries some form of persona. It also determines how you behave when you’re flashing those ‘creds’. You can’t say certain things when you’re the ‘son-in-law’ that you can when you’re the ‘brother-in-law’. It’s okay for you to behave like a fool when you’re the ‘brother’ but not when you’re the ‘uncle’ or ‘son’. So from my point of view family gatherings are restrictive. I am forced to play a role every time I participate in one.
There is also a vast difference between being a blood relative and being an in-law. As a blood relative, the family is stuck with me regardless of how I behave but as an in-law… I am one good argument with my wife away from these people turning on me like a pack of hungry dogs on a bone. Don’t misunderstand me; this is not an attack on my in-laws. They are good people whom I care about but I would expect no less. Blood is thicker… as it should be.
Usually, as is the case with most of us, at a family get together I’m either an in-law or I’m blood. It is only on the rarest of occasions that the two sides mix. I have one of those rarest of occasions forth coming. The amalgamation of IT Genie and Company to officially form GenCo, it will bring two families and their extensions together at one time. On that day I will have many different designations. In fact I will have 22 of them by the time the day is finished. That’s right… TWENTY-TWO!!!
I am already a father, son-in-law, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew, son and grandfather. So in reality there will only be 14 new ones. Most of these come with an ‘in-law’ caveat. Father-in-law, grand-uncle-in-law, brother-in-law on my son’s wife’s side and I will have become everyone in attendance’s fifth cousin by dinner! This in reality makes us all just one argument away from becoming both ravenous dogs and meaty bones!! Isn’t my life already complicated enough???
So after the “I Will’s” have been said, I will have become someone new to every person there. I will have gone from being just IT Genie’s father, to ‘Cousin Shane on Company’s side’! Oh joy!!! To further complicate the matter Company already has two sides, her mother’s side and her father’s side which include both step siblings and step parents. This union will bring no less than seven houses together under the GenCo label. At the moment the merger is pronounced I’ll have cousins coming out the wahzoo!!
For the most part I will never see half of these newly appointed cousin’s again. That is a problem for me since I already have a hard time remembering people’s names while I’m around them. Meeting them again six months later in the Big Box store you can forget about me remembering they’re Cousin Clem on Company’s side. A few though will be more frequently in my life such as Company’s parents and siblings. For them I’ll need to make an extra effort to remember their names, faces and titles.
Normally this type of get-together would pose no more than a minor inconvenience. Go to the wedding, shake some hands, make polite conversation and then go home and be happy it’s over. Of course as you regular readers know… I am home. The whole event is taking place in my backyard. Meaning that I will be around these people from beginning to end! I will be making polite conversation until I fall down unconscious!! There is no slipping away for me on that day!! I’m stuck with these people until they decide to leave!!! What if I don’t like them??? Do I go sit on my deck and yell obscenities at them to get them to go home??? How much polite wedding conversation can one newly appointed cousin handle until I’m found mumbling to myself in the corner of some closet, “Yes the bride does look beautiful.” Yes it was a lovely ceremony.” “Yes it is a nice day.” “Yes the kittens are cute. Do you want one?” I’m freaking myself out just thinking about it!!!
I guess my greatest fear is that I will say or do something that will offend one of these new in-laws and I will create some kind of rift that Genie will be forced to deal with. What if I spend too much time talking to Genie’s new father-in-law and not enough time with his mother-in-law, will this create hard feelings? Does Company’s mother carry a stopwatch? If I say the wrong thing to the wrong person GenCo will be spending every Christmas at my house until the day I die!! Considering that Company’s side of the family are already divided and according to Company they ARE divided, this could prove to be a Hatfield/McCoy reunion with me as the referee. What if they divide into two camps, each determined to outlast the other in an effort to show they care more for GenCo than the other!! They may stay forever!!!
You can see why this is causing me undue stress. I don’t remember signing up for this! Whatever happened to couples running away and eloping??? I think that’s a time honoured tradition that is being over-looked far too often! I could have helped pay for it and still saved money!!! Now I have been forced into a situation that is out of my control. Invaded by a hundred 5th cousins that will be in my home until they have consumed everything I have to offer, the whole time throwing darts with their eyes at each other and me dodging it all.
I know my wife is reading this and shaking her head. I know exactly what she would say to me. She would not console me with words that would soothe me and reassure me that all will be fine, that’s not the person she is. She would set me straight and make sure I understood my official designation…
“Hello. Welcome to my home. My name is Princess…”