I feel like I have some serious dish for you today. Pour yourself a cold Diet Coke and pull up a chair because this is going to be some good (and rarely shared) info.
If you have just joined us, I'll give you a quick update for context. Jordan, my oldest, recently returned from her freshman year at BYU. While at BYU, she got herself a boyfriend, who we (Sterling and I) had never met because BYU is 1500 miles away. Jordan will be serving a mission for our church for 18 months in Lyon, France and The Boyfriend will be on a mission in Brazil. So, Jordan and The Boyfriend cooked up a trip to Houston to meet the family before she leaves for her mission. I quietly encouraged the trip because I'm extremely curious about The Boyfriend. The Boyfriend arrived on a Friday and stayed through Wednesday.
You might be wondering how that whole 'meet-and-greet' went. I had hoped to write a post about "When The Boyfriend Comes to Visit," but, EVEN BETTER, the boyfriend wrote about the visit from his point of view.
Can I get a high five?
What follows is a guide for parents, written entirely by The Boyfriend. [No boyfriends or parents were harmed in the composition of this essay.]
When The Boyfriend Comes to Visit
Written By: The Boyfriend
1. Acclimate The Boyfriend slowly.
Take it easy on the poor fellow! Remember what your mother used to tell you about spiders, because the same holds true for boyfriends: they are more scared of you than you are of them. Go slowly and try not to frighten him.
Sarah did exemplary job of this when I came to visit her daughter, Jordan. I flew into Houston with jitters in my stomach, not only in eager anticipation of finally being reunited with my incredible and lovely girlfriend, but also at the intimidating and fearful prospect of meeting her entire family. Luckily, I was acclimated slowly. Before meeting any of the family, I had a one-on-one reunion with Jordan at baggage claim, which was heavenly. (No, Sarah I did not kiss your daughter at baggage claim! Okay, maybe I did....) Then Jordan walked me out to the car where I met her mother, who said, “Call me Sarah!” and was disarmingly kind and personable. We had a pleasant car ride home together before I met sisters Maddie and Becca, little brother Parker, and then finally the man I had been most dreading to meet: the dad. Of course, the entire family (dad included) was incredibly charming and friendly. But even the most charming of families can be overwhelming if met all in one sitting, so I was very thankful to be introduced in increments. The experience of a boyfriend meeting his girlfriend’s family may be likened to a deep-sea diving excursion—if you don’t give him some time in a recompression chamber, his head might just literally implode.
2. The Boyfriend will probably do and say some really stupid/funny things.
JORDAN: But Mom, driving on the highway scares me.
SARAH: Toughen up, honey. You need
to be made of steel. Not—
BOYFRIEND: [sheepishly] ….But I like marshmallows.
Because The Boyfriend is trying so hard to make a good impression, he is likely to occasionally do exactly the opposite—often with highly amusing results. He might, for example, randomly address you using your maiden name instead of your married name, forcing you to correct him as kindly as is possible in such a situation. (Yes, this actually happened.) He might, on the first or second night of his visit, lose one of the few valuable items in his possession—for example an iPhone—by carelessly leaving it in the cup-holder at the local movie theater. Rest assured that The Boyfriend is not (necessarily) so incompetent as he appears; he is simply nervous. Enjoy his antics. There is a reason so many blockbuster comedies are based around the exact premise that is being now played out for you in real life.
3. Remember that The Boyfriend is here to entertain you.
The Boyfriend is not on vacation (though he might foolishly believe so). He needs to earn his keep / prove his salt / etc., so put the kid through the wringer. Does he have any talents? Can he sing? Can he cook? Make him prove it. As long as The Boyfriend is staying in your house and eating your food, think of him as your own personal court jester or slave, rather than a human being.
(I should note here that Sarah and the entire family were incredibly hospitable during my stay. By the end of my visit, I felt both incredibly welcomed and slightly spoiled. Sarah did ask me to sing a song for a family gathering, and I did have the opportunity to work a piping bag for a few minutes in her kitchen. But for the most part, she was far far too kind to The Boyfriend.)
4. The Boyfriend needs to meet EVERYONE.
Start amassing a list now: family (close and distant), friends, neighbors, former boyfriends and their families, old classmates, vague acquaintances, pets of any of the above. If you can think of their name, or even if you can’t but you can sort of picture them in your mind, arrange a way for them to meet The Boyfriend. A few good alibis are: “family get-togethers”, “open houses”, and “school events”. Any and all of these are an excellent pretense for requiring The Boyfriend to meet as many people as possible.
5. Keep in mind that the daughter kinda likes The Boyfriend.
When it comes to The Boyfriend, your first instinct as a parent will probably be to hate him with a passion. After all, he is stealing your daughter away from you. The Boyfriend represents your daughter’s transition from the idyllic innocence of childhood to the responsibility and independence of adulthood. And as exciting as that transition may be, it is also just a little bit tragic.
Just remember that your daughter actually kinda likes The Boyfriend. In fact, she probably likes him quite a bit. He’s probably kinda important to her. So give her the benefit of the doubt and believe her when she says the blundering fool she brought home to meet you isn’t as big a dud as he appears. Who knows, maybe you’ll like The Boyfriend so much you’ll want to feature him on your blog.
Editor's notes: I did make the poor boy sing at a family function. However, he has some mad musical skillz, and around these parts we make the musicians STEP UP.
My favorite thing about The Boyfriend? He was extremely kind and respectful to Jordan. Anyone who adores my baby is A-okay in my book.
Also? The Boyfriend is going to Brazil for two years. Letter-writing between France and Brazil is soothing to a skittish mother.