What do you think of when you hear those words? Do you think of Jane Fonda in Monster-in-Law? Or perhaps Barbara Streisand in Meet the Fockers? Well, Petrine is not that far off from Rozalin Focker…and neither am I. Maybe you cringe at the idea. We all remember the scene where Rozalin pulls out Gaylord’s foreskin at the dinner table, right? But the truth of being that kind of parent and in-law is that if you discuss the absolute most intimate things with them, they can feel confident bringing you all the mundane ones too.
Yesterday, I was ‘disturbed’ twice while I wrote. Both times it was two of my four sons. One just called to say hello and the other needed career/life advice. They called from America and China…half way round the world cause they wanted Mommy’s advice. Not because they ‘need’ me, but because they value me. And so too is it with Petrine’s ‘boys.’ Of course the fun part comes when they bring home girl friends, fiancees and wives.
My son that teaches in China now, lived at home for nine months between finishing university and getting his first job there. He must have brought home half a dozen girls in that time. Imagine you and your lover being woken by your Mom in the morning…with breakfast in bed. Now imagine her smiling sweetly at your naked or near naked date as the poor girl fumbles to pull the duvet up to her ears. Your Mom then hands her the tray as she says…”This is the least I can do for putting up with my son.” Oh, yes, I did. Every single time.
My older daughter refuses to allow me to meet anyone she dates. By the way, she was twenty-two before she lost her virginity. Do you know what she told me? “It’s all your fault, Mom. You took all the mystery and excitement out of it.” She is probably right too.
You see I hold a B.S. In Health with a specialty in sexual health, HIV/AIDS. I can remember sitting around the kitchen table with their friends when they were in high school. I had baked fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies. And I had a banana and a large packet of condoms (12 at least…sometimes the 30s). No one left that table until they could put one on properly (think maybe Kirsty should have joined us?). And my number one rule was simple…if you ain’t old enough to talk about it openly and honestly, then you ain’t old enough to be doing it.
Of course, my greatest joy is in my future daughter-in-law. She is from another country…a very traditional society. My oldest son, her fiancee, lives in America now and she lives over here in London. So when he was over this summer to visit, I was completely fine with her staying over (more breakfasts…lol). But her mother told her…the old why buy the cow if you can get the milk free thing…their equivalent of it anyway. It was really hard too because I saw those big tears that last night when she wanted to stay just one night with him.
Now…just so you know I am not heartless, I never want to make her uncomfortable…but I am sure I have a few times. I honestly was on my best behavior…for me…the first few times we met, even though my son had warned her what I was like. But I knew that we had corrupted her when she sent me this photo in a text message.
So if you read Petrine telling Kirsty that she needs lessons in how to control her sons…and think that is pure fiction, no mother acts like that…visit my crazy family sometime. Oh, and my son who called to chat this morning, when he found out I was going to visit my friend the sea captain that inspired Ægir’s Captive, his final words as we hung up the phone were…Enjoy your se(a)men, Mom. That is my crazy family…and I would not have it any other way…and neither would Petrine.