I am one of those fortunate people who didn’t marry into a family I 1) hate or 2) think are completely nuts. I would highly recommend getting yourself into such lucky circumstances.
Bart’s parents live approximately one whole mile from the apartment I was living in when we started dating, so I got to know his parents (and most of his siblings who live nearby) very well. (Additionally, I recommend choosing a mother-in-law who both loves to cook and who is good at it (if you can only go for one of those two, I’d definitely advise against picking one who loves to cook but is terrible at it; that can only end in sorrow) because you will be the happy recipient of many a delicious dinner invitation. Also, your grocery bill will drop to practically nothing – one bag of chips, one tub of sour cream, and one jar of salsa per week – and you will be able to use the extra money to buy an iPod).
Bart’s dad is one of the most generous people you can imagine. About a week after I met him for the first time, I came back to their house for dinner. On our previous visit, I had mentioned that I was an officer for the Current Events club on campus. When we arrived at the house, Bart’s dad pulled out a photocopied article about current event awareness in education, which he’d thought I might be interested in. It was such a little thing, but it’s so characteristic of him. My parents came up to visit one time and their car window got stuck in the down position; when George found out, he offered my parents the use of his car until they could get theirs fixed. When we moved to Texas, he spent an entire morning packing up our moving truck (brilliantly, by the way; should you need to pack all your belongings (including two couches, a bed, a kitchen table, a chair and ottoman, and six thousand hundred boxes) into a six foot long truck, you should consider giving him a call). When we came to visit last year for Christmas, he insisted that we not rent a car, but simply use his however we wished during our stay.
Bart’s mom is equally wonderful. She’s the kind to say “come over for dinner . . . and bring your sister too.” Or to visit at Thanksgiving and offer to clean the turkey (hallelujah! Nothing says love like being willing to peel meat of a dead carcass, because you can bet I didn’t want to do it; every Thanksgiving that she doesn’t come, we’re having turkey lunch meat. I am willing to throw away the little package all by myself). I lived at Bart’s parents’ house alone after Bart moved to Texas and while his parents were in London already for Winter semester. Bart’s mom came home for a few days before I left for London and asked if I minded if she stayed at the house. The house that SHE owned that I was living in rent-free. That’s how considerate and thoughtful both of his parents are. (Also, living there by myself was pretty terrifying because I’m a complete wimp and was also sleeping in the basement, so I was thrilled to have someone else in the house to protect me from the imagined danger).
When I went to London last year on study abroad, Bart’s dad was the director of the program and Bart’s mom and eleven-year-old brother were there too. They took my sister and me out to dinner and to the ballet (which was amazingly un-boring and very lovely). They invited me up for dinner or movies at their flat (always accompanied by some excellent treat courtesy of Bart’s mom). We went on little excursions to the completely wonderful Borough Market. They asked me to come along with them to the Michelangelo exhibit at the British Museum. Bart’s mom and I spent an hour one late afternoon browsing several French bakeries and buying a few fun items at each, which later we split all around and ranked according to taste. They made sure my European adventure was as magnificent as possible.
They are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met.
And, best of all, Bart thinks my parents are equally fabulous. And, in my completely unbiased opinion, they are.