To get right to the point, 2012 SUCKED.
But it’s now 2013, I’m 25, halfway through law school and dating a super cute, super sweet guy that I can’t get enough of. That also means I’m faced with new challenges and a whole new perspective.
While I’m stuck between 20 and 30, I’m just as stuck between wanting to be completely impulsive in my life choices (as I used to be) and wanting to settle down. On the one hand, I want a great career and I don’t care where it takes me, but on the other, I want a family life more than anything and I happen to have found this wonderful man who would be a great person to build a life with.
This past weekend, Beau took me to meet his family. I had been working my butt off over the holidays to supplement my already overwhelming student loans, so by the time I actually met them, they had already heard all about me.
We drove out to his little hometown to watch his cousin’s hockey game. It was the most adorable thing I had ever seen, most of the father’s side of his family came out to watch the 7-year old lead scorer. Having never grown up with grandparents, it was heartwarming to be greeted by his; Poppa T chuckling about nearly catching a turkey and then whisking off to church, and the stern yet loving grandmother sitting cross legged in the bleachers.
Beau was like a giddy school child, smile plastered from ear to ear as he recounted memories of his days skating across that very same rink. He pointed to his banners and listed off just about everyone sitting around us. When the game ended, his grandmother treated us all to some hot chocolate.
We parted ways shortly after to continue our tour. His dad and step-mom live only a few blocks off from the arena and were taking advantage of a lazy Sunday. They were curled up on the couch when we came in, all to willing to chat us up. His dad showed off his new Clint Eastwood boxed set while his step-mother was all too happy to lend me her copy of the new Stephen King novel. While Beau and his dad don’t get along, this was the second time I met him and unlike the last time, they were doing just fine.
After saying goodbye some four or five times, which was futile against the chatter, we headed off to see his mother’s parents. I had met his mother twice before and she was simply lovely. She was energetic, welcoming, and genuinely fun. So I could only imagine what her parents must be like. While his father’s parents were more traditional and stern, I had heard him speak of his mother’s side as the polar opposite, and he was right.
As we rolled into their driveway, a childlike smile curled up Beau’s face. His demeanor softened entirely and he hopped out in a way I could only describe with the image of a 5-year old chanting “we’re going to grandma’s house!”. It was a picturesque bungalow covered in snow, with icicles hung across it’s entire front. The walkway was cleared and surrounded by a snowbank, Beau walked around the truck towards the house, reached up and broke off an icicle, only to stick it into the snowbank beside dozens of others, neatly forming an ice fence towards the front door. He grinned at me, grabbed my hand and pushed the door open.
It was a modest house, the walls covered in pictures and nick-knacks. We were hugged by the most loving and adorable elderly couple I could ever imagine. This wasn’t your average TV elderly couple who bicker and tease one another; it was a genuine 50-year strong friendship that is all too rare these days. My heart melted, they were grandparents this displaced city girl could only dream of having.
After offering us endless amounts of baked goods, his grandmother finally joined us at the table, sitting beside her husband. Both of them were smiling and lively, though their health was clearly a growing concern. While his grandmother took the reigns early on in our visit, her husband was just as eager to get to know me. He’s a proud man of music, who once owned up to 8 guitars at a time. He pointed at the ice fence out front asking if I liked his work, while his wife smiled and asked if I noticed her half-hearted snowman. “I tried to build one, but my back won’t let me do it anymore!”
It wasn’t long before his grandmother busted open a photo album made for their 50th wedding anniversary, a compilation of images through the years including their entire family. It was a treat for both myself and Beau; he discovered all kinds of pictures he hadn’t seen while I got to take in just how tight and supportive this family is. Reunions, picnics, boat cruises, you name it! Every picture was a story, a revelation of a character in the family. I learned so much about them all without meeting anyone!
When dinner rolled around, she insisted on taking us out to their favorite restaurant, a small local eatery in the middle of a strip mall. There were only two occupied tables, one by an elderly couple and another by a young couple with their baby. The waitress recognized Beau’s grandparents and seated us instantly, handing us each place mats before turning to Beau’s grandfather, pointing to the underside of the placemat and saying, “there’s a whole bunch of games you can play on the back,” she then pointed to the elderly couple a few tables down and said, ” they’ve already finished theirs!” The whole thing was just so quaint, I felt like I was in some sort of Christmas movie.
We chatted on through dinner, this time listening more than speaking, taking in their individual personalities and interactions. They insisted on paying the bill and as we walked them to their car, I hugged them both tight before promising we would stop by soon. I climbed into Beau’s truck sighed and smiled to myself.
L – I hope you know how lucky you are!
B – They’re awesome aren’t they? Just so you know, they now consider you family.
I scooted over and gave him a big kiss before putting on my seat belt and holding his hand the whole way home, smiling.