Meeting the Family for the Holidays, Part II

This is a continuation of the previous blog about my sister's boyfriend meeting my family for the holidays. Here are some more of Jake's adventures:

Our Night Out

I knew Jake had to work off some steam at some point. Earlier that day, I saw him, sans my little sister, watching TV with my brother in law. My sister had gone out, leaving him at the house alone with our family. I thought to myself: "How does anyone do this? And why would anyone want to do this?"

That night, we met some high school friends out, a whole new stressful situation for Jake. One of my sister's friends brought her boyfriend along, and Jake and this guy really hit it off. They were like two countrymen in a foreign land that found one another and immediately felt comfortable and familiar. Like Jake, this guy worked in finance, and — like Jake — he had put in a lot of family time for the girlfriend. At the end of the night we literally had to pry the two of them apart, and they yelled out that they'd email one another as they walked in separate directions.

The Little Things

The other day I went foraging for leftover Chinese from our huge dinner we had the night after Christmas. My mom had gone haywire and ordered too much, but the only dish left was a pork dish that was nearly full. I explained to my mom she should stop including that dish on the roster, showing her how full it was. A few bites had been taken out of it. My mom explained:

"Yeah, no one really liked this dish. Well, Jake ate some. Jake ate a little of everything. He's so nice." I was impressed, but maybe I should take some politeness lessons from Jake.

Final Confirmation

Jake and my sister took off for a trip to Sonoma, CA, on Sunday the 27th. As usual, my nieces were at my door at an ungodly hour screaming "Wake up, Uncle Rich." I came to the door, half dead, and my 1 1/2 year old niece looked me in the eye and said: "Hi Jake," and walked away.

Her older sister tried to correct her: "That's not Jake, that's Uncle Rich." But it was too late, the little one had moved on to something more interesting than my groggy face. Jake had put in a lot of time playing with the girls, and my niece's faux pax was the strongest indicator that he had made a good impact on my family this holiday season...even more than a foosball championship.

Jake taught me a lot during his visit with my family. My holiday activities consisted of trips to the little coffee shop nearby before reading my sports section, and Chic Fil A runs. Every day I'd flop on the couch explaining to Jake thatI didn't want to do anything, use any energy to think, or be bothered by anyone (my nieces are allowed to bother me though). Jake didn't have that luxury. His "vacation" was meeting my immediate and extended family.

I honestly don't know how he did it. I realized I'm not ready to spend a holiday meeting some girl's family, or to have a girl visit my family for the holidays...or root for her football team. That would require effort and cut into my coffee/Chic-Fil-A/doing nothing time. I'm not sure what it will take to get me to that point:

maturity, making ends meet, or Ms. Right — maybe a combination of many things.

What interesting experiences have you had with a significant other's family over the holidays or when they visited your family for the holidays? Do you agree that you have to be ready for this kind of experience, or is there no way to prepare? Does spending time with your significant other's family over the holidays for the first time feel like another step in your relationship?

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