A week in paradise: part 2

Tomas Ahlbeck
3 min readJul 3, 2022

“I’m used to it.”
And so reality finally caught up with us.

Wednesday went well, and Thursday passed without major problems. We had a really nice time barbecuing freshly caught fish, hot dogs, and reindeer and had a bath in the lake and the kids had a great time with grandma and grandpa. It actually went so well that we — my wife and I — started to talk about renting a summer cottage in the are next summer so we could stay longer and the kids could meet grandma and grandpa at least three weeks next summer.
And la-di-daaa. My worries that I would end up outside of the discussions as always when the rest of my wifes family met turned out to be wrong. For the first hours or so.

I truly love my in-laws and it is very nice to talk to them. On the phone. But when we meet for a longer time it tends to be rather tense and the result is always that grandchildren, daughter and grandparents sit in the sofa or chairs in front of the TV hand have a really cozy time, while I end up in the kitchen with the dogs and a drunk brother-in-law. As some kind of male little orphan Annie I guess. As I understand from friends and acquaintances this is in no way unique for our family, it’s more of a natural law when it comes to the relationship between parents-in-law and their sons/daughters
-in-law. I had so many times heard my mother tell me about her relationship with my grandmother on my fathers side, and my grandmother had told me about her relationship with HER in-laws. So I guess it is just the way it should be, I muttered to the dog sleeping at my feet.

My brother-in-law looked up, burped, squinted with his eyes as if he was trying to focus on that obscure blurry thing that sounded like his sisters husband, and said “Whaaaat?”

Most of all it was a bit frustrating that my wife made a little too much effort to show her parents what a good mother she had become and how she had grown up and God knows what.

But this time we lasted until Friday before it all came tumbling down.
“ Oh no, mummy dearest, let me do it.”
The wife took the shopping bags with hotdogs and buns and mustard and ketchup and soda and God knows whatever the inlaws had bought to spoil their grandchildren from her mother and then also took all the bags with swimming gear aswell, so I had to walk on my own last in the row of family members, without carrying anything at all to my father in laws car. “ Are you really going to carry all of it by yourself? Can’t your hubby carry something?” “ Oh no, that’s no problem. I’m used to it.”

Inside I exploded. “I’m used to it”. What kind of bullshit was that? Who made dinner at home? Who left the children at school every day? Who took the kids to the doctor? Who would REALLY have had no problem whatsoever carrying one or more of the bags if she hadn’t picked them all for herself and walked away towards the car, with a smile like a satisfied … ***bleep***?

I’M USED TO IT! My evil self shouted inside my head. My external kind and silent little face just grunted silently: Hmmmpff. OK, I thought. It’s only for a week. Let her show off to her parents, let her be happy and proud in from of her parents. Give her this week in star shine. I kicked what looked like a stone but turned out to be a dogturd. Happy days.

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(To be continued)

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Tomas Ahlbeck

Swedish Standup comedian, writer & diabetic. Published a few books, done a few gigs. ‘Sweden’s own dirty uncle, brilliant writing and some very dark humour.”