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“Meet the Baders”

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08/19/2009

Meet the Baders photo 1

There comes a time in every relationship when it’s time to make the grand gesture.  He’s nervous, you’re nervous, and no one is really sure what the outcome will be.  What should I say?  What will he say?  Nope, I’m not talking about a proposal—please, we’ve only been dating six months!  I’m referring to something much scarier: introducing your boyfriend to your parents…

In the perfect scenario, my family would live locally, and there would be a more dominant occasion, such as a wedding or bar mitzvah to distract the parents from this sub-occasion—“the meeting of the boyfriend.”  It would all be over in a few hours, and then everyone would part ways.  Easy and painless.

Unfortunately for my boyfriend, Aaron, this was not even remotely close to what happened.  In fact, we planned a special trip to Minnesota, where Aaron was fully immersed in the Bader household for an entire weekend.  And if you think he had time to ease into the situation, you’re dead wrong.

Just 60 minutes after our plane landed, my house was booming with grandparents.  All four came over claiming to want to see me, but I knew the truth— they cared more about meeting the nice Jewish boy I’ve been talking so highly about.  Picture your quintessential Jewish home, with kibitzing, noshing and kvetching…now add vodka.  Poor Aaron was thrown in head first.  But, with the exception of a small incident (nervously knocking over a candle, no worries, it wasn’t lit!), he passed the test with flying colors.  Not only was he polite and friendly, but he held his own, which is the ultimate test of character in my family.  I have to say, I was very proud!  This, however, was only the beginning…

I only had one thing on my agenda for the weekend: show Aaron how amazing Minneapolis truly is.  Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to rollerblade around the lakes.  We Minnesotans love our lakes, and, as the Rollerblade was invented in Minnesota, rollerblading is in our genes.  Apparently, this is not the case for Chicagoans, as before we even left the parking lot, Aaron was down for the count.  (He’s going to kill me for sharing this.)  Now, to be fair, he was wearing my brother’s rollerblades, and they were a little big.  The spill, however, didn’t faze him a bit, and we continued all the way around without any more follies.  There may be hope here after all.  At about 3 p.m., my dad called and wanted to meet us for coffee.  We accepted the invitation, blissfully unaware that seven of my parent’s closest friends would be there to greet us.  Unfortunately for us, Starbucks is not an alcohol-serving establishment.  When we arrived, they were all there gleaming, waiting to pounce.  Yet again, with his wit and charm, Aaron won them over in the span of about five minutes.  Parents and grandparents—check!  Friends—check!  Now on to the siblings.

Meet the Baders photo 2

That night, we all went out for sushi.  My brother, who also recently started dating someone, devised a genius plan.  He decided that this was the perfect time for my parents to meet his girlfriend as well, taking the pressure off both our significant others, as well as ourselves.  He’s a nice, Jewish boy from Northbrook, and she’s a nice Jewish girl from St. Paul:  They had brownie points before they even shook my parents’ hands.  Needless to say, the evening went on without a hitch, and before we knew it, we were back at the airport on our way home.  (Literally.  We went to bed at 3 a.m. and caught a 9 a.m. flight.)

Meet the Baders photo 3

All in all, it was a great weekend.  I knew it was successful when my father, now super hip since he learned how to text, sent me a text message telling me how much he “loves this guy.”  It was really important to me to have Aaron see where I grew up and meet my parents, since they both play such a huge role in my life today.  I’m happy to report, that in this Jewish version of “Meet the Fockers”, there was no losing of the family pet, no breaking of the sibling’s nose, and no teaching the baby naughty words.  He who makes me happy, makes my parents happy…usually.  Way to go, Aaron!

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