In-Laws, Out-Laws

I have a very strange relationship with Charlie's mother. Actually, it's more like I have no relationship with her and that could be considered a bit strange. We've met three times and we've never spoken on the phone. We're not on bad terms and I don't think either of us dislikes the other woman; we're just not BFF.

It's going to get more odd because she'll be in town with Charlie's stepdad, brother, and his brother's twins all of next week.

My presence is expected for one dinner only. Other than that the preference is, apparently, that Charlie visit on his own. This is the same thing that's happened upon each of our meetings in the past. Hi, thanks for stopping by, please leave because I want to stuff fried things into my son's face. Okee doke!

She also has expressed concern that I don't cook very well (read: I don't fry enough/Charlie does not get enough meat/biscuits/potatoes in his diet); that it's probably my fault Charlie doesn't visit; that she'll never see him again before she dies.
She probably also believes I'm snobby and/or stuck up, which is a common misconception when you're shy. All of the conditions under which we've met have involved large groups, loud crowds, chaos. So I clam up, get uncomfortable, stare at my plate.

Now it sounds like I'm trying to defend myself. But I'm just stating the info. In a way, it's sort of a relief. I'm terribly awkward around significant others' families. I never know what to say. I'm not at ease. I have a difficult time finding the right subject matters, determining what's appropriate. And when it comes to a relatively nonexistent relationship such as mine with Charlie's mother, it's all that much more weird. What information does she have about me? Do they talk about me? Does she know my last name? Does she know I'm in school, where I work, what I hope and dream?

Okay, I was being a little silly there at the end. Suffice it to say that our dinner will most likely not expose any earth-shattering confessions, just a few polite questions from me and to me, then lots of chatter on their end with me staring at my plate, and, finally, a game of tug-of-war over the check.

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