I went to my cousin’s housewarming party this weekend. It was fabulous. Naturally the family all showed up early, so we were hanging out in her new digs when her friends arrived.
It’s so funny being in the middle of all that action. Watching my cousin and her boyfriend creating a new chapter in their lives, seeing them surrounded by friends and family, those who have gone before and those who may follow in their footsteps.
Their house is huge, and it’s a great starter home, with great bones and good updates. It’s right in the middle between their respective places of work, and they’ve filled it out nicely with a mix of new and hand-me-down furniture.
It was amazing watching them juggle the colliding spheres of their communities. Family, friends, his family, her family, cats, and each other.
Then of course the uncles and aunts started in on the poor lad, pressuring him to propose – “Oh, I guess it won’t be long now” and “Well, you’ve made this commitment, surely you’ll go all the way…” and flat out “So are you planning to propose??”
They’ve just gotten successfully over one hurdle, and everyone is all ready to throw another in their path… as if they can’t truly be part of the community, part of the family without that slip of paper and some rings.
I know people think it’s harmless, just teasing, and most of them are probably just saying it to have something to say, but we were there to celebrate the home-owning-ness.
Still, familial expectations aside, it was fun, and I hope they both enjoyed it. There were snacks and pumpkin carving (because nothing says awesome like tipsy relatives wielding paring knives!) and chatter and nostalgia and hope for the future.
And I guess that’s where all the pressurized teasing comes from. Hope for the solidification and legalization of relationships. Hope for the family structure and babies and all those things that they want to happen after a wedding.
It just seems a little rude to rush them from one life changing event to another.
But that’s family, right?
Which means, even without the rings and the paper, without the officiant or the money, even without the vows and witnesses, they view him as part of the family.