Lou and I met at SDSU in September of 1989. If you haven’t read the funny way Lou and I met you may want to go back and read my post, “Did you know my hubby was my little brother?”, you will laugh.
Either way, we made a plan in December that after finals he would drive up to Newport to meet my parents and spend the weekend at our house in the guest room. This was an absolute first for my family. I had never invited any boy to come stay with our family before and my parents were a little baffled by the concept but agreed since Lou was from Northern California and they felt weird having him stay at a hotel. After staying at our house for a few days he was going to drive home for Christmas.
He showed up and met my parents and sister and we all went to dinner at Scott’s near South Coast Plaza. I will never forget that dinner. They all seemed to be getting along famously until my Mom asked Lou to read her the menu. She had recently started wearing glasses which she had forgotten at home and the restaurant was really dark so she asked Lou if he could read the specials to her. Well, I knew Lou wasn’t a great reader based on his academic performance and dyslexia but I wasn’t worried until he mispronounced the word, tortilla. My Mom’s eyes bugged out and suddenly it seemed as if you could hear a pin drop. He was totally clueless as to his mistake but my parents were rather horrified.
To make the dinner even better he started telling my parents about the “fights he got into while in high school.” After a rather long winded fight story(he isn’t a great storyteller) he went on to tell my parents he was “Mexican.” Ok, you know I’m not racist but I didn’t even know what he was talking about. He didn’t speak Spanish and neither did his parents nor were they Mexican. He went on the explain that his Grandma on his Dad’s side was Mexican, so he was practically 100% Mexican. Wow, now he can’t do math and doesn’t understand the concept of genetics, could this get any worse?
All I knew was at that moment my parents thought I was in love with a guy who couldn’t read well, loved to get in fist fights and was Mexican. It was as if he was a handsome well mannered gang banger.
That night when we got home my Mom started asking him questions about his reading and his education. OMG! He declared that his grandfather only graduated from the third grade and he himself hated school but went to college to meet girls. WOW, let’s start digging his grave now!
Despite the fact that he failed the interview process with my Mom, she couldn’t help but like him because he was so sweet and adoring to me and our whole family. He had the most wonderful manners and she was rather impressed by that, plus he brought her a hostess gift and left the room immaculate when he left, which was more important than anything to my mom. After he left that weekend my parents thought they had me all to themselves for the next 2 weeks until I left for my semester abroad in Paris. My Mom had ever moment planned for us so we could spend as much time together as possible before I left them for 5 months.
I was and still am very close to my family but Lou and I had planned for me to visit him in Northern California the day after Christmas and meet his family before I left on my trip. Well, when I told my Mom this plan, it didn’t go so well. She lost it!
Mom: “Why, are you going to meet his family in Northern California? I need you to stay home and spend time with me! You don’t know these people yet so you can meet them when you get home from Europe in 5 months.”
Me: “Well, I am going to spend 11 days with you and 3 days with Lou. He came to meet you guys and now he wants me to meet his family.”
Mom: ” I won’t pay for your ticket! “
Me: “Fine, I will pay for it myself with my savings.”
Mom: ” You still can’t go, I forbid you from going. Your father and I pay for you and we won’t allow it. This is crazy. You haven’t even known this guy very long and you are acting ridiculous. You have lost your mind, Tiffani”
Me: ” Fine, if I can’t go then don’t plan on spending anytime with me because I will be in my room by myself!”
Of course I called Lou sobbing and he calmed me down. I told him I was coming to visit regardless of what my parents said. He explained that wasn’t good idea because they would like him even less. He told me to wait it out and see what happened after Christmas. So I spent the next 3 days in my room and wouldn’t talk to my Mom. My poor Dad and sister were stuck in the middle of the war but I didn’t care, I wasn’t giving in.
Christmas morning was a nightmare. My Mom had put together this special photo album of family pictures for me to take to Paris and I wouldn’t even look at it. By the time all the guests arrived for Christmas dinner I came downstairs to socialize but of course they felt the bad energy in the house and knew something was terribly wrong. I guess the fact that both my Mom and I had huge puffy red eyes was another clue.
I was talking to my Aunt Joan and she was trying to reason with me. She knew how devastated my Mom was that I wasn’t talking to her and that I was leaving for Paris in 8 days. My Mom used to cry every time I drove off to college after visiting for the weekend and now I was planning on leaving for 5 months. She was very attached to me and before Lou showed up she had me mostly to herself.
Aunt : “Tiff, come on! You have got to get over this. I mean you haven’t even known this guy that long. What’s so special about him?”
Me: ” I am in love with him. Can’t you people understand. Mom was married at 19, you were married at 18. I am 20 years old and have never felt this way about anyone.”
Aunt: ” So, you’re telling me after only knowing this guy a few months, you think he could be the one?”
Aunt: “Hummm, I will talk to you Mom and try and reason with her.”
Well as you may know by now if you are a regular reader, reasoning with my Mom is a huge task if not impossible. Once she sets her mind on something it is almost impossible to change. Apparently we are very similar in that fashion. Christmas came and went and I was getting more and more depressed everyday because I couldn’t see Lou. My Mom wouldn’t give up her position and before I knew it I was leaving for Paris the next day. I had spent all my time with my sister, on the phone with Lou, or crying in my room. I was miserable, Lou was miserable and so was my family.
I don’t know what changed my Mom’s mind or if she finally realized that she may lose me on a level she wasn’t ready to deal with but the afternoon before I was supposed to leave for Paris, she found Lou’s number and called him. She and my sister secretly arranged for him to fly down that night and surprise me. I think she knew I would never forgive her if I didn’t get to see him one last time before I left for Paris.
So at 9:00pm that night my sister went and picked him up at the airport and brought him home to surprise me. I was so happy I cried for hours. We stayed up all night talking and kissing on the couch while my Mom hovered by the staircase to make sure no funny business was going on.
The next morning they all drove me to the airport and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get on the plane without Lou, but I knew I had to. I guess that is how my Mom felt when she realized she had to bring Lou to me before I left, she didn’t have a choice.
I left for Paris and while I was gone Lou made several trips to Newport to visit my family and watch one of my sisters sporting events. They realized he wasn’t going anywhere so they better learn to love him. He is very easy to love so by the time I returned 5 months later they were all on aboard with my plan.
So silly, I was actually crying while I wrote this last part remembering how much I missed Lou that Christmas.
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