Honey, we did it!The last few days posed a unique challenge and we came out victorious. I am so proud of us.
My aunt ( mom’s older sister) and her husband were staying with us for 4 days. This aunt was the main opposition that we faced over 8 years ago when we first broke the news of our ‘illicit’ affair. This aunt was the one who berated my poor parents when stories of me dating a ‘north Indian’ boy leaked out through the cousin grapevine. This aunt reduced my mom , her adoring younger sister to a sobbing mess and told her she had ‘not raised her daughter well’. I do not blame her for completely wrecking my relationship with my parents for a good 2 years but she had a large part to play. This aunt riled my aging grandmom against my mom and dad and my poor dad had to work years on end to get back into his mother in law’s good graces.
I was exceptionally nervous to face this aunt a few days leading to the wedding and spent the majority of my time trying to avoid one on one time with her.
Since then though, I do think I have matured and have realized that it is better to face my fears head on. She might say something hurtful, but I am trying to forgive and forget and move on . So since our wedding, we have met her a few times and you have been your charming best on all these occasions.
I was so nervous about their visit to NYC and our home and dragged you into an argument before they arrived this weekend. I was worried what they would say about our house, our lifestyle and even adorable Bandar whose vocabulary is mostly English. I spent a furious 48 hours trying to teach Bandar a smattering of Tamil, shouted at you to shave and numerous other small things. For a short time there I was ashamed – ashamed that we were not ‘settled’ in the traditional seonse, lived in a 5th floor walk up instead of a conventional house in the suburbs and had a child who refused to learn her mother’s mother tongue. How ridiculous was I ? What was I trying to prove and to whom? And why?
I need not have worried at all. They loved the sunny, well lit apartment, the ringing of church bells from across the street and only cribbed about the walk up a handful of times , that is totally reasonable given their age and physical condition . Bandar of course , amused them in her usual endearing way like only an innocent child can and you my dear, took the cake with your charm. No one would call you an introvert as you drew them into conversation and picked out topics of interest to them for light discussions ,and I honestly think they are so comfortable with you now, way more than their own standoffish son-in-law. You graciously ate the food that was cooked, even though it might not have been particularly what you would have liked. And last night on your birthday instead of getting to choose the Italian restaurant you were dying to try , you gave in and we went to a South Indian restaurant instead. You were such a sport about this and I know I would have sulked and cribbed if I had to give in to accomodate your extended family. At the end of it, they were not particularly pleased with the meal but I still see the evening and their overall visit as highly successful.
Honey, I know you endure everything and do whatever you can for my happiness since the day you asked me out almost 10 years ago. The ‘parental approval’ saga is behind us by a good 5 years now but I do not think I had mentally and emotionally patched all the broken relationships till this weekend. Somehow in a strange way, these 4 days were the end of some longer forgiveness journey I had to undergo. You have stood by my side every step of the way and for this I am thankful.
Though you are but 15 months older than me, you are definitely the mature, understanding and accommodating one. Your 30 th birthday came and went by yesterday and though you didn’t particularly care for many of the small and big gifts I gave you , I am adding one more to the list – I promise to bring in my compassion and maturity to future issues pertaining to your immediate and extended family. This itself will reduce our arguments by over 50%. Oh, but I am still going to bug you about shaving! Even when you are a lazy 90 year old!