"Water is soft," Mom said last night, her hands neatly folded. "But it can make the hardest stone smooth and pleasant. I want you to be water."
They're gone now, and I'm sad. This visit was far too short. But they met Eric's family, and we tried out a catering place and tried on dresses and investigated vests and bridesmaid dresses and made a mockup centerpiece, and Dad fixed our laundry pipes and installed the locks (with Eric's help) and entirely fixed up my car, including the new tires which are a Christmas present (though I will probably be getting something else then anyway, knowing them). It may have been a short trip, but it was definitely a productive one.
At some point Mom and Dad were walking into a store--I think it was Michael's--and Brenda and I were bringing up the rear, and Brenda said, "You think they're still in love?" in that semi-sarcastic way. "It's pretty obvious." Eric said, later that night, "I hope we're like that in thirty years." So do I. One of the things I love about my parents is how they love each other.
Also that they don't talk as much as Eric's family. Now I know it's not just me; it's the way I was brought up. "They do talk a lot," Mom said, "but they are very good to you and I think they mean very well." Whereas Eric said, "I like your parents, but they're too quiet." I was thinking on the drive back (noticing that every single gas station, except the one nearest the airport, had gas for $2.24, fifteen cents more than yesterday morning) that part of my homesickness lately is feeling like an outsider here as far as family goes. Eric's family has welcomed me, but I'm not like them; I'm like my own clan, and I miss them. I am arguably the person in the family who is least like the others, but I still feel the pull of that allegiance. It's nice to spend a few minutes being silent in the car, or having a discussion in which it's not necessary to interrupt to be able to say what you want to say. And not to have to be on guard against humor, except of the Butter-the-puppet-is-sneaking-up-on-me! variety.
I love my parents. They came out to meet my future in-laws and help me figure out this wedding, a wedding that they're paying for but want us to do as we wish for--within reason. After talking with them, I've come to realize that some of the things Eric and I wanted to do--like have me actually help with setup the morning of the wedding--aren't going to happen; but that's okay. They'll help me, or help me delegate. It's going to be a lovely wedding and it's largely going to be because of them. They came out to do whatever they possibly could for me; and one of the things they did, without realizing it, was demonstrating the kind of people I want Eric and me to be when we're married.
Today I turn in my official, two-sentence resignation. This morning, I think I take a nap. Once I tell Eric to put out the garbage. (His alarm has gone off three times; it's time for him to wake up.) I was going to do it for him, but I remembered some of the other things Mom advised me to do and I made his lunch instead so he'll have time.