It's difficult to pinpoint the standout moment from last weekend when the new(ish) boyfriend came "up home" with me to Yorkshire to meet The Family. Was it learning that he'd accidentally stumbled upon Mum in the bathroom helping Dad to have a "good wash" because he has one arm in plaster? Or when my photo-mad Aunty Maria insisted he join all the group photos at the 40-strong family do, even though we're only four months in (he did it without so much as a flinch, FYI). Or maybe it was when my other aunty, in the local pub, looked him up and down and said, "Ooh, he's not like your usual type… he's very clean."
I should point out that my extended family are all very good people. They are as salt of the earth and welcoming as you would stereotypically expect from Northern folk, and very enthusiastic.
They're particularly enthused about the fact that I seem to be holding down a "clean" fella who – squeal! – "has a job" (there were screams of laughter about this fact as soon as the poor lad was out of earshot), and has willingly come home with me for a family event. The last time this happened was at least 10 years ago, so to be fair to them it is pretty novel. After (what felt like) the 54th "You've done well for yourself" nudge and wink, I couldn't help but reply: "God, anyone would think that this is my greatest achievement."
The thing is, even though my family are the least subtle people ever, I do actually care what they think. I'm thrilled that they liked him and were enthusiastic to the point of not being able to hide their approving expressions and thumbs-up hand gestures. I'm also happy that he seemed to enjoy the experience, too, rather than being freaked out when my aunt did a mock-speech welcoming him to the family. I'm laughing to myself just remembering this.
At the local pub, after the do was over, we were all sitting around being silly and loud, as we tend to, singing along to songs on the "J-box" (as it's called). I glanced across to where he was sitting and noticed him quietly and intently chatting to my dad. They were engrossed in conversation, like they'd known each other for years. It made my heart swell.
A bit later, the two of us grabbed a moment of privacy to have a fag outside the pub – looking out on to the local cricket field. He turned to me and said, dead genuine: "You've got a really lovely family. It's very humbling."Reuse content