Tweet Meeting the parents can be a nerve-wracking ordeal; but for lovebirds in an interracial relationship, the worry game can spin even farther out of control. It was a Saturday night, a typical gathering of somethings. The beer selection was Coors Light, Budweiser and Modelo. Not gourmet exactly, but I liked it. Most people made snide remarks, except one disheveled boy, bearded with a flannel shirt.
Fit the part of a guy who would like a cheep beer. He grabbed a Coors Light and seemed to enjoy it. Sounds like a small thing, but that got me interested. We caught eyes and went from there. Donny and I dated for three months before the topic of meeting family came up. I really liked him, but was afraid of meeting his parents, worried about how they might react.
I had heard horror stories from friends who also dated interracially—the painful silent dinners, the follow up commentary drip-fed for weeks. They sound like wonderful people.
Nothing to worry about. As much as I love to eat, it was the last thing I wanted to do when I first met his parents. I worried about everything from how I held my fork to what my culinary tastes meant as far as cultural divides.
What were we going to eat? What were we going to talk about? I brushed up on Jewish history. Should I draw a parallel between ancient Jews and black people in America? Too serious a conversation topic? We drove to his parents on a Sunday night, a small suburb outside Philadelphia. I remember rolling the windows up and down throughout the ride. Neither of us was planning to go.
I only went because a good friend of mine pleaded with me. We pulled into the driveway. No going back now. Do I fake sudden illness? Truth was, I did feel partially ill. The house was on a quiet cul-de-sac. A cobblestone path led us to the front door. A basketball hoop adorned the garage. Inside is one of the main Jewish prayers. And for some reason, it gave me a bit of confidence. He rang the doorbell. Can I do this? He looked exactly like Donny with an extra thirty years.
The physical resemblance abated my anxiety. A couple glasses of wine and a delicious main course later, the four of us were talking about my job as a social worker. I shared how I got started in my field, how I was inspired by a young social worker who helped my cousins when I was young. Even at a young age, I was moved by her selflessness and commitment to others. He smiled and gave me a hug. For being a woman.
But something funny happened. Within a few minutes of meeting his parents, I realized my apprehension was unwarranted. I realized that past experience informs you only so much, that each new experience is just that, new. It reveals new truths. It can assuage the past. The past does not have to be prologue. On the car ride home, I left the windows down and asked Donny to put on some music.
Inspired by a social worker at a young age, Carmel decided to dedicate her life to helping children in need. In her spare time, she writes about love and romance from an interracial perspective for The Big Fling. When not working or writing, Carmel can be seen at movie theaters and on the streets of Philadelphia pedaling her 3-speed cruiser.
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