Leading up to his and Katie’s wedding over the weekend, Jacob came home about a week in advance. Between that and Emily’s birthday a few days prior, I was fully expecting a last-minute invite over to Paul’s parents’ place at some point last weekend, especially when Jacob mentioned they were gonna be there last Sunday for dinner.

Work was particularly busy and offered double overtime pay for any extra hours worked that weekend, so I did my Saturday rotation and then went in for a half-day Sunday, making a pit stop on the way home to grab a late birthday present for Emily–I knew if we didn’t get the last-minute invite we were expecting, we’d be seeing her at the wedding rehearsal Thursday anyway.

I came home, made some lunch, made some comment to Paul about getting invited over, and sure enough, maybe only an hour or so later, his dad texted to have us over for dinner a few hours later. It interfered with our churchgoing, so we went to church first, then went out there.

It was a pretty typical visit. Julie and Michael weren’t in from Erie yet and Katie and Jacob weren’t gonna be over for another hour or so, so for a little bit, it was just Paul and I with the family. He mentioned later that he could tell I was uncomfortable until his parents left to take Emily back to her dorm for the week.

Part of that was, well, wedding stuff. Of course, Katie and Jacob’s wedding dominated the talk, but it did occasionally turn to ours. Paul’s mom told me at the beginning of summer that they’d pay for our cake, and at the time, I was a little hesitant but mostly okay with it. After having heard how things went with Katie and Jacob’s cake and after conversations Paul and I have had, I’m much less comfortable with it now.

I don’t remember if I ever mentioned the saga of their cake, but essentially, Katie wanted a traditional Hungarian cake, which has these really pretty colored flowers in icing on the sides. It’s really pretty, but apparently not traditional enough for their mom–my guess is her idea of “traditional” wedding cake is a pure white cake. So she told Katie that she wasn’t sure if the great-aunt making the cake could do that. Now, as soon as I heard this from Paul, I called bullshit. Their Aunt Mary doesn’t make cakes professionally as her full-time gig, but it’s more of a side business, and she’s been doing it for a long time. Anyone who makes wedding cakes surely is capable of putting flowers on it. Our theory is their mom was hoping Katie would buy that line and would settle for something else. On top of that, there was some disagreement over whether the cake would be on a separate table or with the cookies. I can’t remember which way Katie wanted it, but Paul and Jacob’s mom said she was “putting her foot down” about it and raised her voice to Katie over it. The funny thing is that for Paul, Jacob, and Emily, who witnessed this, they don’t consider it yelling compared to what they endured growing up, but from my perspective and I suspect Katie’s, anyone raising their voice to a bride because they want something their way and want to disregard her wishes is completely unacceptable, no matter the volume. After all of this, Paul and Jacob’s mom met with Aunt Mary without Katie or Paul and Jacob’s sisters, which Emily suspected was intentional. On top of all of that, for a long time, Katie didn’t even know whether or not Aunt Mary was even doing the cake because Paul and Jacob’s parents kind of dragged their feet getting in touch with her and wouldn’t give Katie her phone number, another thing I suspected was intentional so that it forced Katie to go through them to get the cake. As late as August, when I asked Katie for the number for us to get in touch with her, Katie still didn’t have it. Ultimately, she had Emily take a picture of an order form from her for cookies, and then she sent it to me. I suspect the fact that we went around his parents completely to get in touch with her is gonna be an issue.

In the end, by the way, Katie did get the cake she wanted. It was beautiful and delicious.

So knowing all of this, I’m uncomfortable with Paul’s parents paying for this cake, no matter how much she insists I can get what I want. Unless she’s had a drastic attitude change, I have a really, really hard time believing that’s how it’s gonna play out. I believe she means it now when she says it, but I’m afraid that if she doesn’t like what we want, it’s gonna become a problem. So when she mentioned again last Sunday that they’d be paying for the cake, I wanted to shut it down. I felt outright saying, “I’m uncomfortable with that,” in the middle of dinner in front of all the kids and Katie was rude, and I knew it cold get ugly fast if I did, so I tried to tell her we’d discuss it later. When she said we could get it from whoever we wanted, I was about to say that I had some concerns and wasn’t comfortable with it, but Katie jumped in. I suspect she could tell where that conversation was headed–when it comes to this family, Katie and I, as well as Julie’s boyfriend, Michael, are on the same page on a lot of things. We talk. We compare experiences and share advice, particularly Katie, who’s been around the longest at this point. If I hadn’t told her how I felt about them paying, she probably figured it out in that moment. Whether she did or not, whether intentionally or coincidentally, she probably saved that entire dinner, because before I got a word out of my mouth, she said how great Aunt Mary’s cake for her was and that I wouldn’t want anything else. Either way, God bless her.

As for our cake plans at the moment, Paul did speak to Aunt Mary, who can’t commit this far in advance due to an uncle’s poor health. She said she’d love to do it and is so pleased to be asked by us and Jacob and Katie that it’s real kind of adorable, and she said to check in with her in a few months and to have a backup baker just in case. That backup is most likely gonna be Terra’s sister-in-law, but after seeing and eating Aunt Mary’s cake, I really, really hope she can do it. I totally understand if she can’t and I don’t blame her at all for not being able to commit to it, but I’m gonna be so disappointed if it doesn’t work out.

Things also seemed to get a little tense when Paul and Jacob’s mom started asking Katie for a rundown of the wedding-day itinerary. Wanted a timeline made sense, but she wanted details to the point that I started to think it was excessive, like wanting to know if the bridal party would pair up at Katie’s house and ride church that way, which seemed pretty pointless to me. They’re all going to the same place. Who cares? She was also pretty insistent on taking pictures of everyone at the house, and when Katie said no, she was like, “Oh, Katie, you have to take pictures at the house.” No, you can do it at church and before you go to the reception or during the reception or pretty much whenever you want. It was like she wanted big group pictures every step of the way, and when I mentioned this to my mom, she mentioned that she thinks she’s stuck on the super traditional way weddings used to be done.

When the parents left to take Emily back to school, we kind of relaxed and let loose a little more and hung out and talked a little more freely, getting into things like how Paul’s mom told me she loved me, which I don’t believe, and how they’re insisting that Katie call her mom, which we both agree we don’t want to do. As Katie put it, “She’s not my mom,” and we don’t feel close enough to her or hell, even respected or liked enough by her to grant her that title. Sounds like their dad in particular is pushing for it, and should he say it to me, I think I’m gonna have to tell him I can’t. Funnily enough, though, I’m less opposed to calling him Dad.

We ended up hanging around a good bit later than we intended, and I wanted to leave before they got back and we got stuck even later, potentially faced with more awkward wedding conversations. So as the night crept on closer and closer to when I feared they’d be getting back, I cut us off and pulled us out.

It’s just so easy to hang out and shoot the shit with Katie and Jacob–or any of the older siblings, at this point. It happens a lot with Julie and Emily, too. It’s kind of nice, but it’s tough when we’re limited on time, especially now that Julie and Michael are in Erie and Katie and Jacob are off to California tomorrow morning. When everyone’s home for the holidays, I’m determined to get us in either our place or Brandon’s so we can bullshit as much as we want as late into the night as we want without having to worry about going home or getting up for work the next day. I guess it’s also why I’m so hell-bent on hosting parties and dinners when we have a house someday, because the older we all get–even counting my friends here–the harder it is to get together, yet the easier it is to kill hours just talking when we are together. I feel like if we can block out the time, provide a space, and take the initiative to make it happen, we’ll all be happy with it.

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