There’s nothing more nerve-wracking, when you start to date someone, than meeting your potential in-laws.
This is magnified ten-fold when you are introduced into a family even bigger than the Carroll/McCamley clan.
Something I didn’t think was possible.
As you know, your Dad has a strange sense of humour. This was never more clearly demonstrated than five minutes before I walked through the door of your grandparent’s house for the first time.
He thought it would be hilarious to tell me your Granny had recently been released from a psychiatric unit and if she offered me any alcohol we should leave pretty quickly in case she got violent.
This should explain why I was sweating profusely when we walked in to find her and Grandad watching television enjoying a glass of wine.
I was greeted warmly by them both and, despite my obvious worry that I was going to be attacked by your
Granny if she got too close to the knife drawer, I soon relaxed.
Over the coming weeks and months I was introduced to a sea of Toner and McGivern relatives and it became clear that my family weren’t the only ones that had their own quirks and traditions.
So, in the spirit of full disclosure I should probably tell you about a few of them. I wouldn’t want them to get off too lightly.
The obvious one to start with is: Golf.
A huge family of golfers – this even extends to your Great-Granny Peggy – and yet you will never catch me on a golf course. Ever (Sorry Ann).
They can’t seem to get enough of it, to the point where holiday destinations are simply excluded if there’s nowhere to play.
They keep telling me it’s a sport but I’m not convinced.
I can see plastic golf clubs being presented to you in the very near future. You’d better get busy playing or get busy pretending to like it because either way you’re going to be on a green very soon…
They love a good party
Any excuse will do really; a wedding, a christening, a birthday, a Tuesday…
And they know how to do it right.
If you don’t see at least 3am or have a kitchen disco then it was a quiet night.
At Auntie Jenny’s pre-wedding party, I got up to go to work while the singing was going on in the garden.
Speaking of singing:
No party is complete without a singalong
Obviously when you’re older and you’re attending family parties (sober), you will witness this for yourself.
There comes a certain part of the night when the music we’re listening to simply isn’t good enough.
This is when people decide to sing themselves and talking will not be tolerated.
I’ve yet to be convinced to share my dulcet tones at one of these gatherings but I’m sure I’ll have my shining moment soon.
You should start thinking of what ‘your song’ is going to be because you’ll be called on to do this number for the rest of your natural life.
Poor Uncle Hack has been tortured at every party by me since I found out he sings a brilliant rendition of Christy Moore’s ‘The Voyage’.
It doesn’t matter if he hates this song and wants to do something else, he will forever be asked to sing this at 4am.
They really are a large bunch of varied characters – or lunatics – and these are just the bits I can tell you about without incurring the wrath of the in-laws.
To be fair I did very well inheriting this family, your partner won’t be as lucky.
I have every intention of being the mother-in-law from hell and I don’t remotely feel guilty about it.