On our second date in December of 2011, the topic Hanukkah arose, naturally.
“You’re Jewish?” He asked?
“Yeah,” I said. Obvi. Duh.
“Oh, I didn’t know that.”
“I am. Are you Jewish?” I asked.
And then it was settled. A week later we were lighting the menorah together, and I received the best present I’ve ever gotten.
“You can’t tell my mother I’m lighting the menorah with a cute Jewish girl. She’ll die from excitement,” he told me. In fact, Jacob refrained from spilling the beans for as long he could. It was his younger brother who broke the news to his mother, and grandmother by proxy.
Fast-forward to present day and I’m currently sitting in the living room of the home of my boyfriend’s parents. Everyone is prepping for Passover Seder tonight (don’t worry; I already made the macaroons), and I can’t help but think about this time last year.
Passover was the first time my boyfriend had brought me home to meet his family. This sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Well, it kind of was. Luckily, I can’t stop talking, and his family is great. But after four months of dating, this did seem like a major step in the relationship. Luckily, I had met his mother and grandmother on a trip to the Getty Museum a few months earlier, so I wasn’t going in totally blind.
As much as I love my all-American fragmented family, holidays aren’t always their strong suit. The gatherings are small, and it always feels like I am the only cousin who could make it that year. Needless to say, I usually jump at the chance to join my friends’ big family celebrations, and this was no exception.
I also really love Passover, and the opportunity to celebrate it in a real way with a big family negated most of the nervousness that comes with “meeting the family.” Yet, I was still a little on edge. I liked this guy an awful lot and felt the need to impress.
Turns out, it wasn’t that hard. His family is amazing, which makes sense because great guys don’t just drop out of the ether. They welcomed me with open hearts, and I instantly felt comfortable enough around the Seder table to read from the Haggadah. I think my boyfriend was very glad I was there with him as well. As the first Jewish girl he’s ever dated, let alone brought home, I’m sure it was nice to have someone understand your family on a cultural level.
This year I feel like part of the family. I know everyone’s names, and have spent ample time with them in the year since meeting. It amazes me that it’s been a whole year, but time flies when you’re enjoying yourself.
Even though it feels like it goes against all the dating rules in the book, I think holidays are a great time to meet the family. Everyone is generally in good spirits and out of the daily grind. It’s a time for celebrating, and new relationships should be no exception. It’s a nice way to meet many family members at once, but also not feel on the spot, as there are typically many other non-family members invited as well.
So don’t be afraid to ask your new love to come home for the holidays at any point in the year, and don’t be hesitant to say yes. There’s no better way to meet the family than at a family event.