This post is dedicated to Jay G, whose magnificent blogger-bash I was forced to miss for fear of ungodly wrath from four parents. (Also, I had it scheduled for this coming Saturday. Because I lack Teh Organizational Skillz.)
Anyone who has not yet presided over the melding of two families can’t understand the amount of friendly-yet-o-so-delicate negotiations that went into Saturday’s little dinner party. It started out with Mike’s mother (MM) and her sincere sadness that I refused to have a bridal shower. (All my old friends live way out-of-state; there’s no way I’d ask them to come all the way to Lissaville, Home of the Evil Conservatives, just to give me MORE swag. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who had to buy a plane ticket to come to the wedding is excused from present-buying. Also, I think bridal showers are unnecessary for someone like me — Mike and I have lived together for a little while now, we both had apartments before we cohabited, we have enough toasters and microwaves and glasses and sets of china. And, yes, I have enough risqué underwear, not that you would ask!)
Anyway, despite my vehement opinions on the subject, MM was really afraid that if I skipped out on the bridal shower I’d regret it for the rest of my life. (I have this old-fashioned goal of having this marriage with Mike last me “until death do us part.” I know, how quaint!) So she scurried about emailing with my sister and tried to arrange a bridal shower during the Christmas season, consisting of our extended families. First, we were going to have it in a hotel in Westborough. Then we were going to have it at Mike’s uncle’s house. Then my mom offered to have all twenty-ish people to her cozy little house in Liberalville. Then we were going to have it at Mike’s other uncle’s house. Then we considered just renting out the tent from Barnum & Bailey, keeping the buffalo and tigers for entertainment, naturally.
It didn’t take too much wrangling to figure out that the best solution was to have a family dinner at The Kitty Den. True, my folks had to travel all the way from Liberalville to Lissaville, Home of the Evil Conservatives — about two hours each way, ACK — but it gave Mike and me the responsibility of cooking and cleaning and decorating and serving and organizing, and that was the way it should be. After all, we’re kind of the reason for such a family gathering to occur, you know
Long story short, it went GREAT. BETTER than great. We’ve got Chinese blood on my side and Italian on his, so our idea of enough food is everyone eats enough that they consider dying but only if they can have ONE MORE BITE FIRST and then sending home leftovers. Mission accomplished! Between the cheese and crackers, bread and pepperoni, carrots and grape tomatoes and fat-free-Ranch-dip, chocolate and pretzels, Tostidos and salsa, we had more than enough . . . for appetizers (Considering my family missed hors d’oevres, damn good thing we scotched the bacon-wrapped scallops and the pigs-in-a-blanket!)
Mike was in his element, cooking meat with fire. Rawwwrrr! He picked up a magnificent-looking bone-in twelve-and-a-half pound tenderloin roast (is that right, Mike?) from our local butcher shop and roasted that sucker PERFECTLY. I mean BEAUTIFULLY — seared on the outside to keep in the juices and wonderfully, wonderfully medium-rare on the inside. YUM! Then Mom brought a vat of homemade chicken lo mein (it does NOT taste the same as your generic Chinese restaurant, thankyouverymuch), and I added gravy for the roast and tomato-pesto pasta nests and green beans stir-fried with bacon and freshly-baked pesto bread and HAVE YOU ALL KEELED OVER AND DIED YET? HAVE YOU??
I hope not. Because for dessert we had made-from-scratch chocolate decadence cake and pecan brownies and homemade chocolate and orange-date tea bread (all from Mom) and Jenny brought a cheesecake sampler platter and a tiramisu and YES, THANK YOU LISSA, WE JUST DIED. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, B*TCH? ARE YOU??
Anyway, the parents got along fabulously, my older sister was her most charming self, my younger brothers were on their very best manners, and everyone left happy.
And as soon as they did, I turned to Mike and slapped him vigorous high-fives.
We’ve had our first grown-up dinner party, y’all. And nothing got burned, and no one died, and no one broke anything, and no one ended up in tears. HALLELUJAH!!!!
I most sincerely hope that y’all’s holidays and families went as smoothly and enjoyably as mine did. I couldn’t ask for any better, and I’m so grateful that Old Man Murphy was apparently face-down in his eggnog that night.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy New Year!