Imagine with me. You and a collection of family – mom, dad, cousin, sister, whomever you consider family – are gathered around a restaurant table doing what people usually do in such places: eating, laughing, telling stories, catching up.
Most of the way through your meal you push back from the table slightly, toss your napkin onto your plate and pat your belly in a way that says “I’m stuffed. That was yummy.”
And while others order dessert you smirk like a man who knows his story gets better as it goes and say something like, “Well, I guess I should tell you all the real reason I invited you to dinner tonight.”
Nervous and expectant chuckles all around.
They lean in and you announce, “Well, you know that girl I’ve been dating?” They nod and smile, knowing where this could be going. “Yea,” you smile back, “it’s more serious than I think anybody knows. She’s amazing, first of all. I mean, I’ve never felt this comfortable with another person, we talk for hours and completely lose track of time, and I love her family and her eyes and…” You gush uncontrollably and unashamedly. You catch yourself getting off track and steer things back on course with “I’m rambling! I’m rambling! Sorry, she’s just incredible. I can’t help it!”
Cutting to the chase you say, “I brought you here to meet her. I think she’s the one and I’m gonna propose tonight. I just really wanted you guys to be part of this somehow, to at least meet this person I’ll be spending the rest of my life with. She’ll be here any minute for dessert, it’ll only take a few minutes I swear, and then you guys can head home and then we’re going out. I can’t wait for you guys to meet! I’m PUMPED!”
And while you wait for her to arrive, you bring your relatives up to speed on your relationship – what took you from friendship to romance, from romance to talking about marriage. And as you talk, one by one, relative after relative stands up, drops their tip on the table, and walks away. And when they do those whose eyes are fixed on you, those truly engaged in your story, are noticeably distracted. You watch, saying nothing, as an uncle pulls a cell phone from his pocket and dials on his way out the door. Your brother leaves to grab a smoke. But most of those who leave early just slip into their cars and drive away.
It’s early. This is important to you. It’s the whole reason you got these people together. They’re family. You’re confused. A little angry even. You’re not sure at what.
But those who stay do love her. And you figure that was worth making the reservation, all the nervous preparations, coordinating schedules, the hours spent rehearsing in front of a mirror how you’d make the introduction. And it was. Very worth it.