His parents are coming! His parents are coming! Oh God, his parents are coming…from India…with only nine days notice… and they will be living in our house, with us … for five months. That is four adults, a Rottweiler, a Yorkie, and a cat in a one and a half bath house. I will not freak out. I can totally handle this. Deep breaths, it’ll all be … yup, i am officially freaking out.
From the beginning, I knew that there would be moments where his Indian, Sikh upbringing versus my Midwest, non religious upbringing would hit some snags. I think it’s safe to say this is going to be one of them. It brings up the question: whose culture takes precedence? I was never asked if five months was ok, and a conversation was never had as to the timing of their visit. When I voiced my concerns, I was told this is just the way it is, the length of time is non negotiable and this is just the Indian culture. But is that fair in a relationship that is supposed to be 50/50? I must note that this is NOT the norm for us. He has his strengths and I let him take the lead, I have my strengths and I lead, and for everything else, we figure it out together. That is one of the beautiful parts of our relationship, our ability to play off each other’s strengths and walk through this life as true partners. This current situation was definitely throwing me off.
I was curious to see how others have tackled this topic.
I started my research on the ever-so trusted internet. A quick search for blogs created by and for mixed race, interreligious couples turned up, surprisingly, nothing. I was genuinely shocked. I found an article from Psychology Today advising that 1 in 10 US marriages now are biracial, an increase of over 28% in ten years. So where are all of you? I have questions!
Being a typical male (sorry guys) my boyfriend was of course, no help with my questions and had zero details about what this visit will look like for the day to day routine. We both work full time, we both like going to the gym after work, what are they supposed to do all day? Again, I received no solid answers. So I went into mega clean, mega home decor shopping mode. I did the best I could with what little time I had. And the day was upon us…they landed. As fate would have it, that was also the day our internet was being switched over and I had to stay at the house and wait for the guy to come while Ajit went to the airport to pick them up. Not awkward at all to have the cable guy here as we all do our initial meet and greets (sigh).
Let me break for just a moment and go back. Over the course of our relationship, I have spoken to his parents about four times on the phone. Each time just as strained as the last. Mom has broken English (she speaks much better than she gives herself credit though) and Dad speaks English just fine, yet still a struggle to even come up with topics to chat about. I know at this point they are traditional, 1950’s Indian mentality. I am the white blond hussy living with their son. One of the first things his mother asked when he first told them about me, “is she a gold digger?” Ajit also informed me the only real American ‘culture’ they know is watching reruns of Jersey Shore… I’m really starting at the bottom here.
We get them settled in, Jeff the cable guy leaves, and the five month countdown begins…