Do you ever get that sinking feeling in your stomach that you get before taking a big final, or before diving off a cliff into water? That feeling that means whatever happens next will only be best or worst case scenario? I’m either going to pass or fail; I’m either going to break my shoulder or execute a perfect 10/10 dive into the water? That same feeling perforated me the night before I introduced my favorite person I chose to my favorite group of people I didn’t get to choose. This is the feeling I got before I finally introduced my girlfriend to the family.
Now, although the Hollywood troupes of this experience are endless, not a one can accurately describe introducing a generally well-adjusted human being to the lunacy that is the Kuykendall family. Composed of myself - an arrogant, frequently triggered (as proclaimed by my brother) social justice warrior; an Ex-Republican, Ex-Bernie Supporter, Libertarian; a pot head that has a bright future in management at KFC; an adopted sociopath that we’ve been trying to leave at theme parks for the better part of 16 years; and my mom, we Kuykendall’s are quite a bunch. Now don’t get me wrong, the girlfriend is no Regina George, between her half shaved head, eight tattoos, and consistent proclamation that cows are the best animal I remained cautiously optimistic.
When the day finally, came the girlfriend and I arrived to the designated drop location early. As we sat near the campsite entrance, we could see in the distance my family roll into the neighborhood like Kanye West into the gaslight district, except it was more like the Beverly Hillbillies rolling into Kansas. With boogie boards strapped to the roof, a trailer full of beer and two dogs poking their heads out the windows they were the epitome of familial perfection.
As introductions were made, the slow realization dawned on me, she’s not running for high ground like the tsunami signs warn, but awkwardly reaching for a handshake and then settling on a hug. The seconds turn into minutes, the minutes turn into hours, and slowly all the horror stories that have looped in my head the week before have faded off into the distance, and the thought begins to peak to the forefront of my head that maybe my family is more well-adjusted than I thought.
One of the best feelings that you can have in a relationship is the reciprocation of love and affection of people you care about for people you care about.That moment in which your family and girlfriend share a night around a campfire laughing, drinking, and playing Cards Against Humanity is a milestone that isn’t easily replicated. Realizing that your chemistry with the partner you’ve chosen can be matched by a loving and supporting family not only reaffirms your choice, but also reaffirms how much your family cares.
Halfway through the week I once dubbed as apocalypse now, I couldn’t be happier; and I couldn’t be having more fun. The family has been great, the girlfriend has been better and all things are looking up in an incredibly positive way.