A Honeymoon with My Parents

The only thing that sounds worse is A Honeymoon With The In-laws. Ben Stiller could star in it, and it would be full of awkwardness and frustration. It’d probably wind up not-as-funny as the movie makers intended it to be, but of course it’d make plenty of money because there are people who enjoy those kind of movies—the trying-to-be-funny-but-not kind.

Mitch and I are in that movie. He said to me, “I’m having fun. I just had different expectations. I thought it’d be more honey moon, rather it’s like a family vacation.” I’m telling you all this because I’d rather you hear it from me. In-laws sounds so much worse than My Parents, so I figure it’d be worse coming from Mitch.

The first three days we spent by ourselves, sort of. The day after the wedding we went home to see my aunt Suzie before she headed back to Indy. Then we had two days in Denver capped by dinner and a Rockies game with the Kuck family. We slept on the floor in Lindsay’s apartment. Wednesday we went back to my parents’ house. Thursday we went up to Fort Collins to my brothers’ college house (with my brothers). And now we’re hiking Maroon Bells with the whole gang and the Lungs and Rachel. Mitch and I are sharing a room (ok, it’s a two-bedroom apartment.) with the rest of my family* and Lindsay and Matt. The six of us (my family + Mitch) drove here in one car. I’m writing to you from our balcony on the fourth floor, my feet up on a woodsy ottoman, with nothing but the slopes and the sky in front of me. Jessica’s inside preparing a Mexican feast.

On our eleven-mile hike today I was thinking about expectations and insecurities. Rachel and I have talked about how getting a boyfriend eliminates some insecurities of singleness, but it also provides all new ones. Getting married works like that too. The insecurity of your boyfriend just randomly breaking up with you goes away—much harder to break up, anyway. But it’s replaced by the insecurity being perpetually resented for replacing honey moon-esque activities with hanging out with your family and family friends. There’s also the fear that my being married will make me old, boring, and tame.

I ran into plenty wedding expectations. It’s one of those things about which everybody has an opinion. Honey Moon expectations are a little different. When you tell someone (like a server or valley parking or your neighbors in the hot tub) they look at you like they’re surprised you’re not having sex in front of them. Lots of knowing winks or glances and some confusion about what we’re doing in Colorado instead of the Caribbean.

And the tough thing about all these insecurities and thwarted expectations is that they don’t mean a damn thing—in fact, they’re enriching—if my marriage with Mitch is loving and fun (both for us and for other people). But if the marriage turns very sour they become bad omens or reasons for discontent. They are retroactively significant. My future self will present these facts in whatever light it wants to. We construe and construe our pasts.

*I didn’t know about this rooming arrangement until mile ten on the hike. The pajamas I brought aren’t really family time appropriate. Thank you, Annie Dugas.

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