I spent the weekend with SG and her parents. Most people generally first meet the parents over a nice dinner somewhere neutral where everybody can behave like grownups in the best possible setting with plenty of room for escape. Spending a whole weekend is a far cry from that. Nonetheless, I felt quite comfortable with the prospect before I left for the visit as I knew from SG her parent’s socio-economic background, this not being very far from my own background or education or even experience as many of my friends and their parents comfortably slot into that general area.
Of course, people are greater than the sum of their socio-economic indicators and SG’s parents were no different but as I expected, there was no great gulf of understanding or values to bridge. We spoke a common language and followed pretty much the same social cues although mine are rougher around the edges. Essentially however, in spite of my dreads (and their lack), there was a mutual recognition of similarity and respect in key areas, especially seeing as we mostly (SG being the primary exception) decided to avoid discussing politics and other potentially contentious subjects.
The weekend ended with us all knowing that we could get along and that we all seemed like quite nice people. So that much was good even if I bent the cardinal rule of not getting along too well with the parents, especially SG’s father.
I also came away from the weekend with a realisation that it had been a long time since I’ve been in such close proximity for such an extended period of time to a functioning close-knit family. I enjoyed it even though there was much that brought up my own uncomfortable relations with my family, especially with regards to maintaining a facade, or rather presenting only certain safe areas of my life.
Watching SG interacting with her parents and discussing her life in pretty much the same way she interacts with her friends pushed home to me how I’ve never done this. I have entire areas of my life that I do not discuss. This includes my relationships, my friends, the parties I go to, my hobbies, my politics, what i’m currently reading, etc. In fact, the only topics I do talk about is work and the house renos and perhaps other family members*. Given that not much has been happening on the house reno front, my topics of discussion have reduced to two. I dont feel this as a lack as I’ve been removing my real self from my family since my early teens if not earlier but watching SG with her family made me think that perhaps I should feel a lack.
An easy way of doing it would be to let my father know about this blog’s existence.
* I have mentioned SG to my father and I’m actually looking forward to her meeting him and other family members.