Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ok, Maybe I'm Whining a Bit

I never brought any of my buddies or girlfriends over to my house when I was growing up.  I was embarrassed of my family.

"Oh, gosh, how could you be embarrassed, they're your family!" you ask?

Example #1: We were in NYC one weekend eating at some restaurant when I was 12 or 13.  I have no idea where it was, or what restaurant it was, mostly because a deep, deep mental scar healed up over top of it, and in trying to subdue the insanity, the majority of the details were buried.  But the waitress was an attractive 20-something Hungarian girl.  How do I know she was Hungarian? Because my mom asked her. While she was holding on to her arm.  Which she got a hold of by force.  After which followed the phrase: "You've got such GREAT skin!"

Example #2: My father is absolutely incapable of hiding his emotions.  He would get incredibly pissed off at something - the dog, the house, his job, the floor, my mom, me, his shoes, the door, a bug that was on the table, or English grammar - and then the night would be ruined.  And if I had friends coming over (the very few times that it happened) he would almost always be in a crap-tastic mood.

So I guess I was always afraid my dad would sit there silent and seething while mom would attack my friends and start caressing their bodies.

Thus, after living this way for 20 something years, you can imagine how strange it is for me to bring my wife and kid home to see them.  My strange and awkward mother is externally overly interested in my wife's background and culture while secretly hating the fact that she's not some southern debutante.  And my dad's mood is about as volatile as an aging star whose mass is above the Chandrasekhar Limit (Yay Astronomy!). 

This is probably one of the big reasons we're living a couple hours away from them, and about 3.5 minutes away from my in-laws.  This fact is especially pronounced when semi-big events come up, like when your only grandson reaches six months old. 

My wife's parents bought presents, we drank in celebration (just a symbolic amount, of course), and they made time out of their day to make sure not only that we knew they cared, but that Sammy felt special.

My parents still haven't called or texted anything.

Look, I'm not whining - I'm just curious.  A lot of times, I have these perceptions of American culture that are seen through distorted lenses.  Firstly, my parents are outliers in pretty much every American cultural norm.  And second - my second family is just as clueless about American culture as I am.

So, like I said - I'm mostly just curious whether this is something you all are like, "dude - six months?  seriously?  who cares?"

Yeah, not whining - just....curious.  No matter what the title of the post says.


  1. I cared a lot about Alex turning six months, but I didn't expect anyone else to care. It reminded me of when I obnoxiously demanded to celebrate my OWN half birthdays (I was such a fun kid) and the years it took me to understand that NO ONE CARES BUT ME.

    So, no, I didn't expect anyone to care.

    That said, my father routinely calls on the 11th of every month to wish Alex another month older. He's 22 months now....way passed the age where it's appropriate to celebrate a month birthday ;) But my dad doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

    My in-laws on the other hand, are convinced Alex is old enough to drive around without a car seat. I'm not kidding.

    So, I hear you. David does too.

  2. Have you ever discussed it with your parents, or is it too tough to bring up?

  3. This is sort of like why do some people celebrate birthdays and others do not? It's a priority of what is important and what's not *that* important.

    My birthday is celebrated the entire month of September. Neal stopped having them at 38.

    I emailed all of my biffys with babies at their 6 month birthday while Neal was only concerned when the 1 year rolled around. Although I think he will be different with our own children.

    Your parents, the ones who are only mildly concerned about Sammy being in the hospital, will probably not call to wish him a Happy 6 Months. But they will make up for it in other ways. (you're going to need to write about what those other ways are, though, because they are sort of 0 for 2 right now) But to help make up for them, I will toast to Sammy tonight. Cheers!

  4. I celebrated luke's 6 mo birthday. I'm with kristin and allyson, though...I dont expect anyone to care. When they do, its a really nice surprise!

    I think the issue here isnt a half birthday, but the level of involvement in sammy's life. My in laws havent seen him since birth bc they have given us every excuse in the book to avoid a visit. My parents have been down 3 timesz and planning a 4th in august to see his dedication at church and help us with childcare for 3 weeks. Their circumstances are the same.

    Of course it hurts a lot when your parents dont seem to care...talking to them about it might help, but if you cant or dont want to, def. Enjoy her parents and the love and support they provide.


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