I read a lovely article in the Guardian this weekend about recollections of meeting the inlaws for the first time.
Some very funny stories involving chickens, blacking out, gymslip pregnancy cravings and bottom pinching. To heartbreaking stories of only meeting a mum in law once before she passed away.
As Saturday was the tenth anniversary of Mr B and I meeting it reminded me of the first time I met my inlaws. Mr B Sr and Lady B. You may know Mr B Sr as Hopalong if you have seen any of his lovely comments on earlier blog posts. Lady B is not a member of the aristocracy, her title is honorary and comes with a postage stamp of land in Scotland. But it makes the postman smile when I use it on envelopes and is very fitting.
I remember being terrified when I met Mr and Lady B for the first time. Not because they are scary people (they couldnt be less scary) but because I really liked their son and desperately didn’t want to muck this up. Mr B was single and solvent and I was a single mum with three kids. I wasn’t exactly Catch of the Century.
It was a few months into our relationship that Mr and Lady B were down from Cheshire (I think it must have been for Christmas) and Mr B announced we were going out for a curry with them and his brother, Rog and his girlfriend Rachael. <Gulp> We drove over to their flat in silence. I daren’t speak I was so nervous. Having met me you will know how out of that character that is. Such was my fear.
Mr B introduced me to everybody and my fear factor went through the roof. They were all charming and fabulous. They really couldn’t have been more friendly but I do remember sitting in Rog and Rachael’s flat in South London thinking “this is all so grown up” and I am so not worthy of being a member of this family.
Rog and Rachael had travelled and had lovely souvenirs of far away places that all told a story. I remember thinking about my living room with a pile of melted candles in the fireplace, thinking that was arty. The fact that I had spent six years working for one of the wealthiest men in the world in Saudi Arabia was irrelevant at this point. I couldn’t get beyond “single mum with three kids mode”.
Lady B and Rachael talked about books that had heroines whilst my current reading material varied from Winnie the Pooh to Spot. It has caught up again now (not enough flashing lights on books for my children these days, whereas I can’t get enough of them) but back then I felt woefully inadequate as everybody chatted (including me in the conversations. Don’t get me wrong, I was not being ignored, I was just trying desperately not to say “wibble”).
Rog and Rachael were in advertising and it all sounded so glamorous and fabulous and grown up. I had just gone back to work after three years off / raising kids / getting divorced. Doing property management for a boss who thought it hilarious to post chicken fillets, second class to another office. Yes. Really. Or boil frankfurters in the kettle and not change the water until people said “Is it me, or does this coffee taste odd” (I could write a book on this chap’s japes).
I don’t remember much about the meal or afterwards but I do remember everybody drinking gin and tonic. GIN AND TONIC in an Indian restaurant!!! This, to me, was the most amazing thing in the world. Ever. I had only had curries with lager before and here were people drinking gin and tonic.
I am sure Mr and Lady B’s recollection of that night will be nothing like mine. And thankfully I am nowhere near as nervous when we meet now.
Oh and I know how to make a pretty good gin and tonic.