Saturday, March 30, 2013


My sister-in-law and her family just left. She and her husband and their two kids have stayed with us for the past few days.  Prior to their visit I was terrified about how the weekend would go.  My sister-in-law and her family live in a very conservative, very white, southern town where everyone sees each other on church on Sunday and knows each other's business.  The last time we went to their house (4 years ago) it was very uncomfortable.  The kids seemed to be embarrassed to be seen with me (I'm black and my husband is white) in public.  Her husband grew up in this town and occasionally made border-line racist comments.  Not to mention all the good ole boy jokes about shooting and killing animals.  

The younger of the 2 children was 10 years old the last time we saw him.  He was very whiny and needed constant attention.  He wanted my husband's undivided attention and viewed me as an intrusion into his relationship with his uncle.  He was clearly showing signs of growing up to be a good ole boy just like his daddy and that worried me.  Thanks to Facebook we are able to keep up on the kids lives and interests.  The pictures of various things that he killed, the racist anti-Obama jokes and various other comments from ignorant friends on his page Facebook page only increased my fears of having him in my house with my pets for a few days.  

I am happy to say that my worries were a huge overreaction.  I should have given my nephew more credit.  A 14 year old boy is much different from a 10 year old boy.  Whatever his political/social views are they didn't come up during the weekend (I'm not sure why I thought they would).  When we went out to the mall and the skating rink he didn't treat me any different and actually hung out with me more than with my husband at times.  I'm sure that fact that he was far away from home and in a very diverse place helped but I'd like to think that the next time we head down south, things will be better. 

The best part of the weekend was how good everyone was with the pets.  My nephew and his father's fears of large dogs were quickly put at ease by the dogs snuggling up next to them on the couch.  And because we so rarely have company, the excitement of having people in the house for a few days was enough to tire the dogs out and keep them mellow.  

But for me, the most important thing about this weekend is that my husband shared the same concerns that I had.  Before his family came we sat down and talked through everything and made sure that we were on the same page. It was nice knowing that if something did happen that my husband had my back.  There is nothing more uncomfortable than seeing a couple fight through their issues in front of you and I'm glad we didn't put anyone in that situation. 

I'm not going to go so far as to say the rest of my in-laws are welcome to visit (my husband and I agree that this sister and her family are probably the only relatives of his that we could have stay at the house).  But I can say that I will have less anxiety about it because of how well this weekend went.  

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