We're going back to my old home town because thewife's parents will be holidaying near by and wish to meet my parents for the first time.
Thewife and I have been together since the mid 90s, and married in the early noughties. Her parents couldn't make her wedding on account of a bout of breast cancer and since my mum cannot fly (she could - she hates to because she is chair bound) - we've generally gone to them for holiday related stuff.
Finally their paths will cross.
While both our sets of parents are English migrants, both sets are from different sides of the tracks. Mine were public [private in the UK]/selective school solid middle to upper class. Thewife's blue collar workers and proud of it. My mother's voice would not be out of place reading the BBC news. Thewife's not out of place in Coronation Street or East Enders.
My mum has a tendency to "speak her mind". Or rather ignore social conventions to discuss things like elephants in the room. I think part of it is her, part of it is her being an ex journo, and part of it is her being disabled - because people hesitate to criticise themes discussed by cripples.
Least that's how I see it.
Note to fascists. If you had one of your leaders in a wheelchair you might cop less crap.
Anyway. The meeting. Thewife and her parents went through an extended spat that involved no speaks for several months and finally tentative recontact. My mum knows about this - and thewife discussed it at length. I am terrified my mum will say something like "Now (thewife's parents) it's so good that you patched up after that silly spat. If only you could get your other daughter to speak to you it would all be great!" [thewife's sister has not talked to her parents since said original spat].
It's that kind of positive negative that my mum is so good at. It's not at all meant to be malicious. She thinks she's being helpful - truly she does. So does my dad - with things like offering me $2000 to dangerously drop 40% of my body weight in two months. It's out of love. It's out of compassion. But it's wrong and still hurtful sometimes. And when I am around my parents I often feel mentally I am reverting back to sullen teen mode where they look at me as I reach for a Diet Coke or second piece of toast and shake their heads sadly.
Anyway, thewife's parents are nice people. A bit grumpy, and very old fashioned. Things like acceptance of race and sexual identity beyond the "norm" as they see it is quite difficult for them. Their sense of humour is ... a little lacking I'd say. That's just me. Thewife had a hard time growing up with them and she has really worked at helping them turn from sour people to well people.
But these are people coming up against my parents, my parents who seem to have the mentality of a 19th century missionary preaching to the ignorant savage in a kind of blissful one with god manner despite tramping cultural sensitivities into the dust.
Needless to say I am worried it’s all going to go pear shaped. Luckily my work is allowing me to work remote from the office so while I am doing that thewife can deal with the great meeting of minds.
It’s so not going to go well.
PS My relationship with my father in law has always been rocky. I think the lowest moment was when one Xmas he walked in on me while I was reading a book and absent mindely rolling a wheelie massager back and forth across my chest. That of course wasn't bad. It's just that for some reason I had elected to wear one of those dolphin massagers on my head. I looked up to see him, my eyes furrowed under the dolphin's beak as the rolling slowly came to a stop. He just shook his head sadly and left the room.