Unlike my family, who is just pretty much all-around Crazy, Brian's family has two very distinctive sides. Keep in mind his parents are also divorced, so the differences are that much more pronounced and able to be compared and contrasted.
First we have the
- Very large family, grew up poor in a very small town and were tobacco farmers. His mom has 8 brothers and sisters and in some of their earlier school photos, most of the kids are barefoot. However, most of them grew up to be very hard-working and successful people and they've remained extremely close, traveling to visit each other throughout the year, especially at the holidays. ESPECIALLY for Baby Jesus's birthday.
- The father of all these kids, Brian's grandfather, came back from fighting in one of those old fashioned wars, can't remember which one, and became a raging alcoholic of the old school variety. This left Brian's grandmother to raise all these kids alone, but with a lot of help from their church and small community. Subsequently, all the siblings are Very Religious. Including Brian's mom. Especially Brian's mom.
- Their religion? Baptist of the utmost southern variety; were you expecting me to say something different?
- After Brian's mom and dad divorced, she was devastated, but since she was strongly involved in her church, that's pretty much what kept her going. At the church was a dorky Sunday school teacher named George. Brian's best friend used to consol him by saying, "It could be worse - your mom could be married to George."
- About a year after the divorce, Brian's mom married George.
- George also came from a very strict religious background, so they were (and are) pretty much a perfect match.
- The household became one of strict rules and curfews; church was mandatory, fun was frowned upon.
- Brian ran away. A lot.
Okay, now for
- Brian's dad has one brother and one sister and a decent sized extended family.
- His grandfather on that side attended the Citadel for college, (the south's answer to West Point) a family tradition that Brian's younger brother continued.
- While not all college-educated, this side had a little more financial security growing up, and they all too have done very well for themselves.
- Unlike the MOM SIDE, they enjoy hunting, fishing, playing poker, football, skiing, brawling, playing pool, having sex for reasons other than procreation, whiskey and a combination of any and all of the above. Like the MOM SIDE, they also are a close family and always get together for visits and holidays too. It's just a very different type of get together, and by different I mean fun.
Guess which side we like to hang out with?
To be fair, since we've been back we've put in A LOT of time with his mom & george and her side of the family. And it's been fine, it really has. She's thrilled to have us back living here and they haven't pushed it too much - no dropping in unexpected (except for last year right before Thanksgiving when I had to hide our turkey in the dryer), no being too nosy. A lot better than what I was expecting, to be honest. The Sunday routine with church sometimes and the after-church meal always, well, that's not too bad. A few hours a week with them is tolerable and sometimes even enjoyable.
She's come to expect us there pretty much every Sunday. Unless there is a very good excuse such as them or us being out of town, or if one of us is projectile vomiting and/or bleeding out of the eyes. She's never asked for a doctor's note, but I wouldn't put anything past her at this point.
Yesterday, being Sunday, she expected us to be there, per normal. However, we had the rare chance to hang out with Brian's dad, as he was up here last week for hunting season. Sadly, even though he still owns a house here, he retired and moved to Orlando around the same time we moved up here. We don't get to see him very often, last time being Labor Day weekend. When Brian explained to his mom we'd be spending the day with his dad and family at the hunt club and that it would be the last chance we'd get to see him for awhile, her reaction was, "Okay, whatever - talk to you soon." Imagine that being spoken in a fake-cheery, sugary-sweet southern drawl; syrup with some daggers thrown in.
Get over it, dude! Remember your OTHER son and daughter-in-law, the ones who live only a few hours away who NEVER come to your house? Sheeit. Wait until you hear in a few days we're not spending Thanksgiving with you! For that one, I'm expecting full- on seizures.
That being said, I love my mother-in-law and I'm looking forward to going Christmas shopping with her in a few weeks. The most fun times I have with her is when she and I are alone and shopping.