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You Can’t Live In A Bubble

, | MO, USA | Children, Parents & Guardians

(My dad and I are going to a sporting event where a bubble machine is present, and some of them float into the parking lot. This happens when we see a large one. Note: there is a pair of girls who I can only assume were sisters.)

Dad: “Look at that bubble”

Girl: *runs across and pops large bubble*

Dad: “Look at that ex-bubble.”

Me: *to girl, in high pitched voice* “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!?”

Girl: *failing to hold back laughter* “I couldn’t help it.”

Me: “What did that poor, innocent bubble ever do to you?”

Dad: “It was a large bubble, just asking to be popped.”

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Forever Never

| England, UK | In-Laws, Siblings

(Unhappy with the area we live, we look for a more family friendly area. As it happens there are plenty of houses in the same area my father-in-law and sister-in-law live. We end up buying a great house three doors away from my wife’s sister. The first six months are great. Being so close, we visit each other regularly and our children get to spend time with their (childless) auntie. One day she comes out with this:)

Sister-In-Law: “We are looking to move.”

Wife: “Oh, why?”

Sister-In-Law: “Well, we are looking for our forever home. Our flat only has two bedrooms and no garden. We want something that will last us.”

(Months go on, they find a buyer and agree on a sale, and we catch up with them.)

Me: “I see you sold; have you found a place?”

Sister-In-Law: “Well, there is a house in [Remote Place].”

Me: “Oh, okay. How will you get to work? I didn’t think you were going to learn to drive.”

Sister-In-Law: “It’s not that far. The same time, really.”

Me: “Okay, that sounds good. A forever home, what is it like?”

Sister-In-Law: “About the same size, but it does have a garden.”

Me: “There isn’t a school there… I know you’re not planning to have any kids, but parks and schools might be important one day.”

Sister-In-Law: *sounding unconvinced* “Well, we will see what happens when it happens.”

(They move, eventually, to their “forever home” that is no bigger than the flat they had, now miles away from family and friends, without any local amenities, schools, or even a decent shop. They had a child a year or so later then complained constantly that they had no money to move house.)

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I’m Sure The Dog Will Say Thank You

| Scotland, UK | Children

(I am serving a mother and her little girl at checkouts. They only have two bottles of baby shampoo. It’s a sunny day, so everyone is wearing summer clothes, the little girl’s being brightly coloured.)

Me: “That’s a pretty dress.”

(The girl just smiles.)

Mother: “What do you say?”

Girl: “We’re giving our dog a bath!”

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In A Bad Place Right Now

| Finland | Parents & Guardians

(My aunt has just died after a half-year long battle with cancer. My mom, who was her little sister, is of course emotionally exhausted after having supported her through the disease. During the last week she stayed at my aunt’s place and went a few days without sleep to give my aunt her pain medication every two hours, so on top of her mental exhaustion, she’s also physically tired. My aunt had no SO and no children, so after her death my mom has to clean up the house. This means days of emptying various cupboards and storage spaces. I help when I can; so do her brother and sister-in-law. She has never liked the sister-in-law, but now Mom is just complaining constantly about her behaviour. I usually try to say that no offence was meant, probably, and that she shouldn’t make it even harder for herself by getting upset by things that were not meant to hurt her. But sometimes I understand her… My mom is home, trying to rest a bit, when her phone rings. I wander in in the middle of the conversation.)

Mom: “Oh, the spare key? You can just leave it in [place]. That’s where we always kept it…

Mom: *after a moment of silence* “Oh, we kept it there during her treatments and I’ll find it there. It’s a good…”

Mom: *after another moment* “Just please put it there so I’ll find it. Oh, he already put it… Okay. Well, I guess that’ll be fine. Yeah, bye.” *puts her phone down*

Me: “Was that [Sister-In-Law]?”

Mom: “Yeah.”

Me: “They were cleaning [Aunt]’s house?”

Mom: “Yeah. She called me to ask about the spare key.”

Me: “I gathered. So did they put it in [place]?”

Mom: “No, [Uncle] put it in [different place].”

Me: “So… They called you to ask where to put the spare key, you told them, and they put it somewhere else instead?”

Mom: “Yes. That is what they did.”

Me: “Seems reasonable.”

(I think that even then the S-I-L didn’t meant to be rude, but I still feel that her “helping” Mom is making her even more exhausted, rather than less.)

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The Faint Was No Feint

, | North Adams, MA, USA | In-Laws, Parents & Guardians

(I accompany my mother and stepfather out to see my sister sing, and then we all go out to treat her and her boyfriend to dinner. At the restaurant, mom abruptly faints and falls from her chair. Stepdad catches her… and she starts snoring. We all laugh awkwardly as he gently sits her on the floor and shakes her awake, but the laughter stops when she remains unresponsive, even with her eyes open. She eventually snaps out of it, but is disoriented and irritable for a minute. By this point we have called an ambulance, and she is carried out of the restaurant on a stretcher. After a long wait at the hospital we are told that she’s recovered and that there’s no reason to expect a repeat incident or how to avoid a repeat incident. She is discharged and we head back to our cars.)

Step-Dad: *to boyfriend* “Now you’ve got the BEST meeting-the-parents story EVER!”