I recently traveled back home to Ohio to introduce my fiance, Richmond, to the rest of my family. We traveled 20 hours each way by bus to Cleveland. We experienced the added bonus of spending the night in Chicago’s bus station because our connecting bus had only one seat left as we were next in line to board. Nothing brings you together more than spending eight hours in a bus station waiting to travel an additional eight hours to your final destination. However, it didn’t put a damper on our trip. It did, however, force my fiance to swear off travel by bus in the future.
Up to that point, he had only met my mother, sister and niece. My niece was about 10 months old when they met, but she had her way of showing her approval. I figured it would be bad form for him to meet my father on our wedding day. The wedding might be a year away, but there would be no excuse if no interaction occurred in that span of time. I know that might happen for some couples, but to me it felt wrong. After all, they could meet and not like each other at all. They could meet and hit it off. I’m happy to report they like each other and the initial meeting went well, complete with compliments and a lot of laughing.
I’m just happy he knows more than three people whom he will soon call family. The stamp of approval from a girl’s father – I think – is pretty important. It’s a must. Well, he got the positive head nod from my father (who I call Papa), my aunt, grandmother, cousins and my very best childhood friend. It must have been meant for us to travel during the weekend of Memorial Day because everyone was at home and anxious to meet Richmond.
On the way to Cleveland, I thought about all of the wedding movies I have seen. I thought about how nervous the man seems to be to meet the father of his soon-to-be bride. I prayed for a scenario that did not mimic that of the movie, “Meet the Parents,” where the father essentially interrogates his daughter’s fiance and ultimately makes him rethink his proposal. I also thought of the movie, “Our Family Wedding,” where an interracial couple plans to tie the knot and the fathers feud throughout the wedding weekend, citing fear from cultural differences to the point where they almost ruin the occasion. An African-American man was in love with a Hispanic woman. The fathers were unaware of their “big announcement.” While those movies show merging families can be tricky, love prevails in the end.
I asked my fiance if he was nervous about meeting my family. He was eager to do so without fear. He is originally from Liberia and – culturally – family is very important. I was glad he was comfortable. When I look back, I think I might have been a little bit more nervous than he was. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I wanted to know what everyone thought of him. I wanted them to be as excited as I am. I found myself saying what all brides-to-be tell their significant others: “Don’t worry. My family will love you because I love you.” I know that’s not always the case. However, I’m glad this rings true for me. It was definitely worth the two-day trip. Delays and all.