Validation…And My Brother-in-Law Dates Psychos
Posted on February 28, 2013
I wasn’t someone who needed to hear how good I was doing at something during my formative years. I knew what I was good at and I knew what I was horrific at. Gym? Art? Holding my pencil or fork the accepted way? Horrific. But I knew I was good at other things, especially Atari, and that was quite evident from the moans and groans of my opponents getting their asses handed to them. This isn’t to say I don’t mind a bit of validation these days when it comes to my writing or my relationship because I do. My husband tells me so and since he states he’s never wrong… Anyway, he’s always had a ‘thing’ about his belief that I need validation from his family about our relationship. He doesn’t think we need it, doesn’t want it and doesn’t think we’d ever get it. That kind of changed a bit two days ago when an unexpected incident occurred.
Let’s back up for a second. To be fair, my brother-in-law has been good about my relationship with his brother. He’s not an ass about it, he doesn’t make inappropriate jokes and it’s just never really bothered him. He has used it to further his own agenda a couple of times, though, by throwing it at the Hong Kong Grandmother when she hasn’t accepted his girlfriends. Of course, it would help if the girls he dates weren’t psychotic! Am just sayin’. It’s like the nice ones won’t sleep with him—evidence we don’t want him batting for our team if he can’t get any—and the psychotic ones only scratch that itch when they really, really have to. NOT a good combination.
As for their mother, she attended our wedding and seemed to enjoy herself as well as enjoying blocking any amorous intentions I had with her firstborn that week. She’s known about us ever since he told her a decade ago during a shopping excursion. They walked through the front door while I was sitting on the couch writing a book and he announced “Told mom. I’ll be in the bathroom.” Then he hauled ass into the bathroom while his mother sat down, stared at me, and tried to figure out which one of us was the top. Because that’s not awkward. She also thinks we got hitched so I can get on his insurance. I can’t. We married for love. That and nobody else will ever be willing to put up with us. So, you see? Love.
Now, when the hubby’s and brother-in-law’s father ended up in the hospital for two surgeries after Christmas two months back, I was there with them. They obviously spent more time there because I was going back and forth with my dad, but I was there. I was a presence. And the nurses and doctors all mistook me for one of his sons. That was a bit awkward in the beginning, but turned into a fun little joke as time went on. My father-in-law-who-doesn’t-know-he’s-my-father-in-law would offer up a rather lengthy explanation about my being a good friend of the family, which apparently explained why I was there as often as I was. A REALLY good friend.
So this went for two months and carried over to the rehabilitation center. And since my undersexed brother-in-law had a class for work this week, I was asked if I’d accompany FILWDKHMFIL to his radiation treatments. The driver on Monday walked in, looked at me, and asked “Just how many sons do you have?” The long, overused good friend of the family explanation followed. When we returned and when my brother-in-law arrived after work, we joked about it and I suggested to FIL that he simply shorten the explanation and just tell people I’m his son-in-law. It stops questions. Clever, right? Good. I thought so, too. And FIL laughed. Somewhere else, my husband shivered as if someone walked over his grave.
This brings us to Tuesday. A different driver arrived to take us to radiation, walked in the room, looked at me, and asked FIL “How many sons do you have?” FIL looked up at him, paused, and—for the first time ever—uttered “He’s my one son’s significant other.” Color me totally taken off guard! I didn’t know what the hell to say. Of course, mentally I was telling myself “He’s medicated. The man is totally Xanaxed out of his mind right now.” Yet he said it. He actually said it. He’s known about us for over a decade, but never ever felt remotely comfortable acknowledging it in any verbal way. And now a nineteen-year-old van driver knew. Progress!
Naturally, I came home later on and wrote something up for a Facebook post. It originally ended with the words “I nearly shit.” Of course, if I’d kept that, a couple of my critics would have accused me of being vulgar again, so I changed it to “I nearly feced.” Same thing, same sentiment, same messy ending, just a different spin.
It was a short moment and even though it may never be repeated or acknowledged in the future—I’m not discounting that it might—it felt good. It really did. He may not know I’m his son’s legal husband and therefore his legal son-in-law, but that’s okay. I’ve finally made it past the slightly dismissive good friend of the family stage and I like how that feels.
So, yeah…validation. Don’t want to give it? Let’s you and I step into the other room and I’ll set up the Atari.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
16 Responses to “Validation…And My Undersexed Brother-in-Law Dates Psychos”
February 28, 2013 at 8:36 am
Another winner, Kris. The games we humans play with one another, our little rituals and casual (and studied) avoidances, our ability to pretend we do not see what is right in front of us is a source of constant fascination for me…and, I somehow suspect, for you and most writers.
February 28, 2013 at 10:14 am
I think it was an issue of comfort for him in that he wasn’t comfortable with it and wasn’t comfortable verbalizing it. However, with his recent health issues and my stepping up to help, I’d like to think that this is his way of showing he respects me more. The odd thing for him, too, is that when he’s introduced me as his son’s significant other (he introduced me yesterday as his son’s partner), nobody batted an eye, nobody made a face and nobody said anything rude. It was just completely normal.
Kiernan Kelly says:
February 28, 2013 at 9:51 am
I totally thought your first post ended with the words, “I almost faced.” I figured you meant face-palmed, or face-planted. Now I know you meant something totally different.
…and thank you for putting that image in my head.
February 28, 2013 at 10:18 am
How long have you known me now? And you still haven’t figured out to expect the unexpected? 😛
February 28, 2013 at 10:11 am
Amazing feeling. I can’t figure which is more difficult – being the close family friend in an Asian family, or in a Southern Alabama one. That was me and my ex years ago, and while my dad always (and still does) call Sam his adopted son, his family didn’t warm up to me right away. It was a dance.
Glad they see you two look good dancing together. You’re a good man, and it’s about time.
February 28, 2013 at 10:20 am
The stranger thing here is that his dad is the white side of the family. It’s their mother and Grandmonster who are Chinese. I figure things will be pretty close to normal and a total non-issue in another 18 years.
Sam’s parents not warming up to you is entirely their loss. Bless their hearts. Isn’t that the saying? lol
B. Snow says:
February 28, 2013 at 10:16 am
I love “I almost feced” — way funnier than the s-word because it takes a second to figure out.
Congrats on progress, even if it was drug-induced. Or maybe there’s some evolution going on, slow but steady.
February 28, 2013 at 10:22 am
Time will tell. We still have another 6 weeks with him in the rehabilitation facility, plus chemo, so I’m hoping he continues to lean on me a little as he goes through it.
Katy Trick says:
February 28, 2013 at 10:25 am
Well, it’s about time. The title of son-in-law is soon coming. I can feel it. This was his wayof saying to the world that you were family. Doing a little happy dance for you as this mile stone has now been crossed. We all need a little validation once in a while, as modest as we may try to be in our lives.
Hugs and smiles to you and Ralph.
February 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm
Ralph is slightly mum about it at the moment. Methinks he’s terrified his father will find out what we did last winter. Now there’s a title for a book…
Lloyd Songal says:
February 28, 2013 at 10:30 am
Nice read and summation Kris. That was an enjoyable read; although I saw the daily posts an enjoyed them as well, so I thought to myself when you ended the first post, Did he really mean feaced? So I enjoyed your explanation of why you stated it like the way you did rather than just say shit. So your explanation makes it evan more funny. Congratulations on being recognised and loved by your family. Hugs babe.
February 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm
Still enjoying the orange juice and dodging the blue hairs driving around in Florida. Lloyd? =) Am quite surprised you don’t keep a blog of your travels.
February 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm
It warms my heart when I read these kinds of acceptance stories. As for the brother in law saying psychos, it seems to be a family trait.
February 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm
February 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm
Not sure how you found me to follow on Twitter but thank you. Because of that I got to read your funny story which was quite enjoyable. I look very forward to more. Acceptance in all forms is a lovely important thing and when it eases itself to the forefront without grief, it is most splendid indeed. Kudos!
February 28, 2013 at 11:03 pm
Thank you, Mary. =) That was very kind of you to say. Aside from writing about fictional characters in my books, I’ve found I’m surrounded by a ton of run real life ones who readers have come to know, too. Wait until you read about my husband’s Hong Kong Grandmother.