4.11.2007

Meet the Parents


Is it just me, or does the sun seem to be shining a little more radiantly these days? While almost everyone has been complaining about the recent cold snap here in North Carolina, I have hardly noticed. Despite the cool temperatures, I feel lightness in the air and a strong sense of renewal that ordinarily would be attributed to the rise of the spring equinox. Still, I realize that the extra bounce in my step isn’t due to the season. After telling my folks about Max, I’ve had a weight lifted. I feel completely free to enjoy this stage of my life and my relationship.

Unfortunately, when my burden lifted, its weight was taken on by my parents, who apparently lost consciousness the minute I uttered the words “Egyptian boyfriend.” And after their temporary blackout, my folks didn’t hear another sound that fell from my tongue during the rest of our conversation. And ever since, while they have remained silent to me on the topic of my relationship, their questions and concerns have been burning up the phone lines leading to my sister Christina’s house. Thankfully, even though she has never met Max, my sister has become his greatest ally in a war of perception with my parents.

To be fair, mom and dad have spent the better part of thirty years living in a most homogeneous area. My guess is that they haven’t met a single Muslim in all that time, and so the only images they can conjure are derived from current news clips from FOX news. As a result, Christina calls me to offer the daily recap of her conversations with the parents.

“Mom and dad think that Max is going to force you to convert to Islam, then whisk you and your unborn children off to Egypt never to be seen again,” Christina said with the slightest sigh.

“Max isn’t Muslim, and he’s never lived in Egypt,” I respond curtly.

I know that, and you know that,” she continued. “But mom and dad are convinced that he will suddenly get religion after the wedding and go extremist on you.”

We laugh a little over the wild scenarios being imagined, but more as a way to relieve tension than because we find any of my parent’s concerns funny. Christina and I are resigned to the fact when people base their impressions based solely on negative stereotypes, no amount of reasoning will change their notions.

At the same time, I do make allowances for my parent’s fear because it stems out of deep concern and love for me. Mom and dad can’t help but worry they are losing their oldest daughter to a total and complete stranger. And really, how can I blame them? My folks feel this way, in part, because I haven’t been given them opportunity to love Max as I do. And so, I need to remedy this situation with all due speed.

Max is in Japan until Friday, but as soon as his plane lands I’m hauling him up to Virginia to meet the parents. I’m not the least bit concerned that the encounter won’t go well. Max is an amazing spirit, who will win both my parent’s hearts and minds. They finally will see for themselves that somehow, despite hailing from different worlds and religious upbringings, Max and I share am amazing bond that stems from like-heartedness and true compatibility.

So as not to seem too much like an E-Harmony commercial while we are there, I have also taken the liberty of inviting all my siblings’ back home for the weekend. After digesting a couple plates of Greek food and throwing back a few glasses of ouzo, Max will truly come to know my family in all their glory. And let me just say, if my crazy Big Fat Greek family doesn’t put the fear of Mohammad in Max and cause him to go running and screaming back to the Middle East, nothing will.

7 comments:

Dan-E said...

it's too bad april fools has already passed, since i was just thinking how funny it would have been (at loeast from here) if you showed at wearing a burka. your dad would probably need something stronger than gin.

Mind Bender said...

Then...I met Diane Mandy, and she wasn't what I'd expected, but much more.

running42k said...

I like dan-e's idea. Good luck on the weekend.

Suvii said...

Good luck on the parents-meeting-Max event! You sound confident that it will go well! It IS so interesting what stereotypes our older generation parents hang on to. I've experienced a lot of what you are experiencing with my very Latin-American mom and my very non-Latin American choice of boyfriends over the years!

utenzi said...

Reason might not convince your parents, Diane, but I'm quite sure meeting Max will work wonders. Soon they'll call you and actually want to talk to him, not you. Consider this a prediction!

mrsmogul said...

Cool on the meeting parents thingy...my friend (white toast girl from massachusetts) married and divorced a persian man from Iran. His parents disowned him and hasn't seen their 7 year old granddaughter since. Its so sad when people judge like that. Great post!!

David said...

Glad to hear you told them, I bet that did lift a burden. I hope the meeting goes well!