Saturday, December 25, 2010

Meat-ing the parents

Four months in, we’re laying around on a lazy Sunday afternoon and SG#1 tells me about a wedding he’s been invited to in Kansas City – his home town.
“So, I’m thinking it would be fun to have a date at the wedding.”
“Oh yeah. Who are you going to take?” [Me being facetious]
“I was thinking of taking you, and, well, my parents live there, in Kansas City, so maybe, umm...”

Oh. My. Goodness.

He wants me to meet his parents.

In Kansas City!!

I was excited and nervous and all kinds of freaked out. Just four months in and a meet-the-parents weekend?! This guy really liked me, and I really liked him and suddenly I had ruby slippers on my feet and I was in Pleasantville with SG#1 and everything was just peachy – which could never happen because big, frizzy, curly hair doesn’t fit the whole Pleasantville look.

Three clicks of my heels later and there I was stepping off of the plane at Kansas City International. SG#1 and his dad picked me up and whisked me away to drinks while we waited for our table at Jack Stack Barbecue (One of Kansas City’s finest BBQ joints). This is the time any girlfriend waits for: embarrassing childhood stories about your significant other’s first girlfriend, pictures of them at their first prom, etc. Instead, SG#1’s dad (who we will refer to as Mr. Dad from now on) started in on a story:
“I remember when I moved to St. Louis and I was looking for a girlfriend…my friends wrote me a list of potential mates to call for a date, one of which was SG#1’s mom.”

The story goes that he actively pursued SG#1’s mom for a couple of months and, after a few unlikely excuses, she finally agreed to a date.
“…six months later we were married. She was 29 and I was 32.” (Smiley, inquisitive look in our direction) “So, how old are you Alani?”
“Well, I’m 29.”

If you haven’t clued in yet, I am 29 and SG#1 is 32 and we had been dating for exactly six months at the time the story was told. I don’t’ think Mr. Dad’s story had an agenda, but after he asked my age the table fell silent…and then erupted in nervous laughter.

Meet-the-dad icebreaker complete.

We paid our tab and walked the yellow brick road to Jack Stack Barbecue for dinner and to meet SG#1’s mom (Mrs. Mom from now on). Dinner was fairly benign. Just the usual childhood stories, questions about what I do – which received an, “Oh interesting, SG#1 has never really been interested in the medical field, at all!”

(I’m pretty sure I already figured that one out after he asked how my first day of internship went and stopped me at the first mucus-laden story). We ate ourselves silly at Jack Stack: a tower of onion rings, barbecue sauce rubbed chicken, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, baked cheesy corn, hickory baked beans a side of meat and a little more meat. I really wanted to try the carrot cake, but I’m not sure I could fit it in – it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. YUM. So far Kansas City was on my top 10 list of best food [read: MEAT] cities and I had successfully lived through meeting the parents. I was excited to hear my official review, but first we moved on to drinks with SG#1’s best friends…

Picture the most dive-y bar you’ve ever seen located just behind a row of over-stocked car dealerships and steaming with young patrons playing betting games and drinking a local IPA. I was starting to fade from a long day of exams, a bumpy plane ride and a release of nervous energy over meeting SG#1’s parents for the first time. I ruffle through my purse for my ID and spot the table of SG#1’s high school friends. They stick out in their button-up shirts with mixed drinks in hand, and as they see SG#1 they all start to smile and cheer.

“You must be Alani. How do you like Kansas City so far?” SG#1’s best friend greets me with a hug.

And before I could answer he motions to the table with a big smile on his face and announces, “We’re all a little fatter, but we’re happy!”

And that’s how the whole weekend went; fun friends, great drinks and more meat than I’ve ever consumed in 36 hours. We went to the most amazing Catholic-Hindu wedding I’ve ever seen (and the first), complete with Hindu tea ceremony, the groom’s grand entrance on a white horse led by traditional Dhol drummers and the entire wedding party dancing and cheering as they processed…you know, just your typical most-awesome-wedding-EVER! It was, however, the longest wedding ever as well and after hour six of drinking and partying, still waiting for the reception to begin, we stopped at the hotel bar for a bite to eat, just a little slider or two. And, much to my surprise it was a mini bun, mini burger patty (inch thick) with more shredded meat piled on top of it – only in Kansas City.

After the festivities drew to a close SG#1, his best friend and I headed to the bars for a drink or two. The best friend and I had a top secret heart to heart, which basically meant him asking me some “really important” questions:

1. So, are you going to marry SG#1?
2. If SG#1 asked you to marry him tomorrow, what would you say?
3. SG#1 seems really happy, how do you feel about him?

Such pointed questions! He did inform me I got an “A” grade (he doesn’t give A+’s), so I was pretty happy about that. And, in terms of the final parental review, as Mr. Dad and Mrs. Mom said their goodbye’s at the wedding (after I had a dance with Mr. Dad), Mrs. Mom said, “Alani, you’re invited to Thanksgiving and Christmas any time you want!”

I think that means they liked me.

Well, this year I’m spending Christmas in Australia, but I might have to take them up on the holiday offer sometime soon. All in all, the meet-the-parents, meet-the-friends, Kansas City weekend was just another chapter in the fairy tale that is dating SG#1 (which totally and completely freaks me out). When will the Wicked Witch of the West whirl onto the scene surrounded by a spiraling tornado of munchkins, lions and tin men? For now, I’ll just click my heels three times and imagine no place like home with SG#1 by my side.

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