Some people are flat out lying or plainly bullshitting when they say this, but I love my parents-in-law. They are so normal that they make you question whether normal is really “real,” and whether they are just some mirage that your subconscious made up because this is what you’ve always wanted for in-laws. They enjoy life for what it is and seem to only point out the most positive aspects of even the worst situations. It’s a world away from what I’ve grown up in. So you can imagine how annoyed I can get when my mother starts pre-judging their eventual meeting, which will be taking place in San Francisco when my in-laws will be traveling there next week. They will be arriving and staying with us here in New York beginning tomorrow night, and next Tuesday, they will fly to San Francisco. Chris will be going, too, with an overlapping work trip, so all five of them will have dinner together. My parents will be meeting my in-laws for the first time. And I will not be there. What an invigorating situation to be missing.
My mom is on the phone with me tonight, asking me if they are “really” nice, or if I am just making it up. Yes, because I lie all about my in-laws and how much I love them just because it sounds good. “I hope they are nice,” she says over the phone to me. “Of course they are going to be nice!” I exclaim, hearing the irritation coming out in the shrillness of my voice. “Well, we will see,” she says, doubtfully.
The problem with this type of negativity is that she’s already decided that there will be something wrong with Chris’s parents, anything wrong, somewhere. Even if this dinner goes smoothly and all is roses and blue skies, in her head, she wants something to be wrong. So she will search for things that she does not like either about them or the dinner or meeting itself. In just over a week, I will hear some criticism of hers of them. She may get annoyed that she payed the bill and they didn’t fight over it “enough.” She may get mad at the way Chris’s mom looked at her when they first make eye contact. I have no idea. But I know for a fact she will say something critical.
And if she doesn’t, then perhaps I have become a more version of my mother and only expect bad things to happen.