Monday, June 29, 2009

A Little Paint Goes a Long Way

I found blogging to be on the back burner of priorites the last couple of days. Reason being, I'm helping my parents re-do their house. This weekend, after weeks of agonizing over paint samples to find the perfect grey with my mom, our family chose a color and painted the whole house.

There's a picture of my fiance helping out.

His being there wasn't merely coincidence. It was planned, lol. This would be the outlet for him to discuss marrying me with my father. You see, my dad's a scary dude. So in our family, it's best to just do things and THEN tell him about it. Trust me; when I was 16 and he said I couldn't even date or talk to my FH, my mom was furious that I had almost messed up a good thing by even talking to my dad about it. She said to just date him, and if he turns out to be good for me, then mention him to my dad. Why get him riled up over a drop in the bucket if he wasn't The One?

Well, he turned out to be The One. My dad eventually found out and after about two years of dating invited him over for Thanksgiving dinner. The two met and while they aren't chummy, my dad is very nice to him and now accepts our relationship.

Fast-forward to now. He proposed. He didn't ask my Dad for my hand in marriage. My mom told him we were engaged. Then when I came home from school one weekend shortly after the proposal, he talked to me about it. The first thing out of his mouth was "Congratulations!" And he gave me a big smile and hug. Who was this man pretending to be my usually deranged father?

So we talked about marriage and he told me it was fine and he was proud of us. Then he said he wanted to talk to my FH. Because my dad is not the type to reach out and invite anyone to come sit down to chat over coffee, I knew this would be a huge undertaking because WE would have to plan when this would happen. So, I approached my fiance about talking to my dad. This wouldn't be the "Can I have your daughter's hand in marriage?" type of conversation. He already had my hand. It would be a conversation more along the lines of "I hope you approve...blah, blah, blah."

My FH thought it would be a good idea to take my dad out to lunch to talk about our marriage. I flat out refused. My dad is like a brick wall, the conversation might be so awkard, I could just see plenty of things wrong with the scenario. My mom agreed.

Then brilliance struck me.

In the traditional Ethiopian way (my dad is from Adis Ababa), the future son-in-law spends the engagement period helping out the bride's father with different tasks and chores whenever the dad needs it. The groom can pretty much be at his beck and call. Now, my dad's too Americanized, stubborn, and prideful to ask for help. But!! I realized that the plans my parents had for re-doing our house this summer would be a big job. And so, I decided and then coached FH that he should come out and help us paint this past weekend to break the ice. He quickly agreed. I said at the very least, if there were awkard silences then they could just rely on painting instead of staring at eachother across a table at lunch.

So we painted all day Saturday (as evidenced by my FH pictured above). My dad greeted him with a big smile and we all got to work. The whole day passed, and while we were finishing up I nudged him to go talk to my dad while my mom conveniently called me into another room. The poor thing was a little nervous. Of course, my mom and I tried to eavesdrop. He started out by saying "Well, I know it may be a little late for this, but I just wanted to make sure I had your blessing as far as marrying your daughter, blah, blah, blah."

Then the two got quiet and to our frustration we couldn't hear much. But then we heard laughing and all was well. My dad then called me out, and said jokingly, "Well, he asked and I told him no. Then he said he was just kidding, gave me a hug and congratulated us again. Yes! We officially got Daddy's permission. The kicker?

At the end of the night he joked to my mom: "I got (My FH's name) to call me Dad before he called you Mom!"

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking "Dang, it's been a long time since Najat posted" So I checked to see if I'd missed any and here was a lovely one waiting for me!

    Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS! I know that must have been tough but y'all pushed through lol. Kudos on working with/including the cultural traditions. That really was brilliant. Good thing you have your mom to help navigate the tricky stuff lol.

    Also, great writing! I loved reading this post. Thanks for sharing!!