Meet the Parents

So I’ve been thinking about meeting the parents lately.  I recently released a novella–TOUCH OF TROUBLE–in which a man meets his beloved’s family for the first time.  There are a few wrinkles, of course.  (Aren’t there always?) They’re not actually dating, for one thing.  She doesn’t even want to date him, for another.  And her family is utterly bonkers, for a third.

But that aside?  It’s a tough situation no matter what.  Because meeting the parents is a big deal.  It’s the day you acknowledge that maybe you aren’t just sharing a few laughs with this guy.  It’s the day you acknowledge that maybe–just maybe–there’s a future in this.  

That maybe–just maybe–you really like this guy.

That maybe–just maybe–he’s the one.


You want to love his family just as much as you love him, right?  And–no denying it–you’re kind of desperate for them to love you, too.

But no pressure, right? 

I’m sitting in my in-laws’ basement as I write this, thinking back on the very first time I visited this house nearly 16 years ago.  I’m remembering the very first time I met the people who would become my mother- and father-in-law.  The people who would become my children’s beloved grandparents.  The people who would stand up at my wedding and give their son into my keeping.  Who would watch my parents stand up & give me into his keeping as well.  

I was terrified. 

Partly it was because I wanted so much for them to love me.  But mostly it was because of the damn peacock.

See, the neighborhood in which my in-laws live is home to a handful of wild peacocks.  (No kidding.  Peacocks.)  Once upon a time they must have belonged to somebody but at this point nobody really remembers who or when.  Now they just wander the neighborhoods, stroll through gardens & generally class up the place.

They also enjoy photobombing innocent young women just trying to make a decent first impression on her future in-laws.

Picture a young, innocent me trying very hard to make myself agreeable, knowing that my future happiness depends on convincing these people I’m cool.  

Now picture me smiling for photos on the back deck, because evidently my beloved boyfriend (the current Mr. Sey) was not in the habit of bringing girls home.  Ever.  My MIL understandably wanted photographic evidence of this unprecedented event.  

Now picture an enormous peacock dropping out of the heavens and landing on the deck railing not 5 feet from my elbow. 

Picture me swallowing a startled f-bomb and trying not to spring out of my Birkenstocks. (And before you judge me, please remember, we were all wearing Birkenstocks in the 90s.)

Picture my in-laws cooing with delight.  “The peacocks!  Oh, how lucky!  Did you know we have peacocks?  Get closer!  Let’s get him in the shot.”

And that was how I knew it was true love.  That bird was a solid five feet tall, with death in its eye & very sharp beak.  

And all I said was, “Cheese!”

How about you?  What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to impress your beloved’s loved ones?  Come on, I know you’ve got stories.  Share!  I’ll gift one lucky commenter with a Kindle download of my latest novella TOUCH OF TROUBLE!



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  • flchen1 says:

    I’ve been blessed with excellent in-laws. I really don’t recall trying to impress them with anything, and if anything, I think they’ve seen me at my PMS-ing, crazy-lady worst, so I’m thankful they haven’t been whispering in DH’s ear how he ought to be ditching me right quick 😉

    I did scan an album’s worth of my father-in-law’s family photos and reprint and recreate albums for all seven of his siblings, but that wasn’t to impress him or them; it was such a joy to see how much it meant to them 🙂

    A peacock, eh? 😀 Go, Susan! Go, Mr. Sey!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Fedora, I know exactly how much work scanning a whole album’s worth of photos is. They are lucky to have you. Lucky, I say!

      And you’re lucky to have them, too. Because they sound wonderful. 🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    Wow Susan, not sure. One year they went on a trip during Mother’s Day/ mil’s birthday and I cleaned their entire house AND planted a garden of flowers all the way around the front of the house.

    The funniest part of “meeting the parents” is the fact neither mmy mother or anyone else in my family met my hubby until the day before we got married. 🙂 If hubby would have known them I afraid we would never have gotten married.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Wait, you cleaned the house and planted a HOUSE LONG BED OF FLOWERS? You win, Amy. I give up. Man, that sounds like a lot of work. And a beautiful gift. Your inlaws are lucky to have you!

  • Helen says:


    Love that story wow a peacock how cute 🙂

    I had wonderful in laws they were very easy going and although I don’t think I did any thing to really impress them I know the loved me too my hubby is the eldest of 6, 5 boys and 1 girl ( I went to high school with his sister) and I really think they were over the moon to have another female in the house sometimes LOL ans Hubby always got on well my parents as well they were gald to have a male in the house as I am the eldest of 4 girls and my Mum was so excited he had a car she had a chauffer LOL

    Have Fun

    • Susan Sey says:

      You know, Helen, I completely identify with your husband’s family. I’m from a family of all girls, & for a long while, Mr. Sey was the only son-in-law. To this day (though my mother claims to love all her boys equally) I think he holds a particularly special place in her heart. He was her ONLY son in law & for so long. He obviously has an edge, right?

      Plus, he’s earned it. Every time there’s a huge family dinner, you know who’s wearing the rubber gloves & tackling the dishes? My husband. She’d love him for that alone.

  • Shannon says:

    I met them just before the wedding which was on 1 Jan 2000. (We had a week engagement, although we’d been living together for over a year.) I thoroughly cleaned the house. My family did not come: mom had just had surgery, my SIL pitched a fit that we would not chose one of three dates she was free in May or June. I forget my other brother’s excuse, probably the time–it because was it was 1 Jan 2000.. So my MIL thought my family really cold. So about 10 minutes after hello, she asked me to call her Mom and my FIL Dad.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Shannon, that’s beautiful. I’ve been married for nearly 14 years now & it was probably just last year that I slipped & accidentally called my FIL dad. I didn’t even notice it at the time but my husband was gobsmacked. He was also really, really touched. Because my dad is kind of legendary, & not replaceable in any sense of the word. For me to unconsciously lump HIS dad into the “dad” category in my head was an enormous sign of how deeply I’ve fallen in love with my husband’s family.

      It sounds like you’re really lucky in the in-law department, too. Your MIL especially sounds like a winner.

  • Susan, woo-hoo! Congrats on your new release. I love all things Blake Brothers and am going to go grab this as soon as I finish posting here.

    I love the peacock story! I’ve only seen peacocks running loose once, and I had no idea they could fly, especially with all those tail feathers, which I’d think would provide a certain amount of drag.

    Nothing amusing ever happened with my inlaws, alas.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ah, well, there’s time! Maybe the amusing stuff will happen when YOU’RE the future MIL, waiting for your future DIL to impress you? I recommend bringing on the peacocks. They, ah, make an impression. 🙂

  • Joan Kayse says:

    A Peacock bomb?

    At least it was JUST the bird and not…um..other bombs LOL Only you little duckling.

    I have no in laws to worry with but I AM impressing myself by mopping the kitchen floor today 😀

  • That story is hilarious, Susan! My in-laws were lovely, hard-working, down-to-earth people and I’m just grateful that they accepted this flaky, laid-back California girl into their fold. 🙂

    And I’m so happy to have a new Blake Brothers story to enjoy!!!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Isn’t it wonderful to find your people, Kate? Even when they’re not at all what you expected? Or when you’re not quite what they expected? Blessings all around!

      And I hope you enjoy my latest Blake Brothers effort. I do love those guys & enjoy every minute I spend in that world.


    I literally have tears streaming down my cheeks, Susan! Only YOU could get photobombed by peacocks, and then have your future inlaws think its the greatest sign from heaven!!!

    Still laughing.

    My favorite in-law story was when my MIL came to visit us one time. Jazzman and I had been married over 15 years by this time. She always marveled that most meals in my house were made without following a recipe. (She took lots of notes on how to make some things!)

    Anyways, I’d made beef stroganoff and I always served hot, buttered peas with them. I handed her the bowl of peas and asked her to set them by Jazzman’s plate, as he always started the vegetables.

    MIL: Oh Jazzman doesn’t like peas.

    Me: Uhm, yes he does.

    MIL: He never ate them as a child at MY house.

    Me: Uhm…he does now.

    She set the peas by him without another word, but when he took his seat, she gave him a pre-Jethro-Leroy-Gibbs-headslap.

    Jazzman: What was that for?!?

    MIL: Peas!

    Me: Grins!!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, Suz, that’s priceless! Peas!

      It’s a delicate thing, though, isn’t it? Negotiating that line between what’s true about your husband & what you both BELIEVE about him?


  • Kim says:

    Congratulations on the new novella. I don’t have any in-laws yet, so luckily, I haven’t had to do anything crazy to inpress them.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, Kim, it’s an exciting time. If the moment ever comes, you’ll be prepared by all the stories you’re hearing here today. 🙂

  • Cathy P says:

    Susan, I loved your story about your in laws and the peacock. I met my husband at the wedding of his younger brother and my close friend. I was maid-of-honor and Dan was the best man. I didn’t do anything to impress them. About a week after we met, he took me to his parents house for dinner. His dad said “Honey, just call me dad, and call her mom.”

    • Susan Sey says:

      Okay, that’s about the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. I might be a little in love with your FIL myself, just having heard that story!

  • bn100 says:

    haven’t done anything crazy

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    Love the photobombing peacock, Susan! LOL

    My hubby (then boyfriend) took me up to his family’s cottage in Northern Michigan for a week. His parent’s live about an hour away so one day he took me to their home to meet them. He was loving the fact that I was so afraid they wouldn’t like me. They live in a split-level home so he went up the stairs first and I followed. (He’s also 6’10” and I’m 5’2″ so was pretty easy to miss. LOL) At the top of the stairs he hugged his mother and then stepped aside and introduced me. My (now) MIL’s mouth dropped open and she froze. I didn’t know what to do so I just hugged her. She then started yelling for my (now) FIL to come quick! *gulp* Come to find out he told his parents he was bringing a “friend from work” to the cottage, not that it was a female…or that we’d been dating for months. But we did work together on a locked Psych unit. LOL

    Also, I was raised in the Detroit area and my hubby was raised in Northern Michigan…but his father went to HS with my mother in a little town in SW lower Michigan. Strange coincidence or fate? 😉

    • Susan Sey says:

      Marcy, that’s fantastic! I love it!

      Also, I love the Michigan angle as I’m a Michigander, too! And for a bonus, I was raised in the Detroit area & my family has a cottage in northern Michigan. (Lower peninsula, though, not upper.) Have we ever run across each other in real life? Wouldn’t that be crazy? But Michigan’s not really that big, so…

      • Marcy Shuler says:

        *cue twilight zone music*

        I was raised in Livonia and Plymouth. My hubby was raised in Alpena. We met at work in St. Joseph and his dad and my mom went to HS together in Three Oaks, about three miles from the Indiana border. His family’s cottage is on Black Lake in Onaway, about an hour south of the Mackinac bridge.

        Any path crossing with this info, Susan? 😉