Hey, you guise. Sorry, this is long, but I need to bounce this off people who are impartial.
So, background first.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a while...and we're from very different families. I come from a loud, passionate (both positively and negatively) family. We argue, we fight, we don't always sound polite, but we'd do anything for each other.
Uncle needs a favor? One of us is on it. Random cousin's cousin's bday? We're there. It's a little past noon and you haven't eaten in 3 hours? Several people will try to shovel food down your throat. Funeral, wedding, baptism, etc? Count on like 200 people.
His family's different. Small, calm, and a little distant. I like his parents, but I still call them Mr. and Mrs., and times we visit in NJ, it's a little awkward for me. I'm not family, I'm a GUEST in caps. And at first I thought it was them reacting to me, but apparently that's how they are. Extended family is seen as more of an obligation.
His paternal grandmother lived alone until she was 9o, then had a nurse through a few months of failing health, and is now in a nursing home.
His maternal grandmother lived alone until her dementia got too bad and then she was moved in to her granddaughter's...who had an alcoholic husband who stays home and is charging her grandma 200 a day to "take care of her." She also wouldn't tell the bf's mom where she lived because "she didn't want her to interfere."
Needless to say, this shit would not fly in my family and I can't figure it out. You charge grammy 20 bucks to take her to the store? You then charge her 200 a day to take care of her? Meanwhile, bf's mom doesn't work and is home all day, but apparently, grammy moving in was a no go.
I figure different strokes for different folks (and was quick to bring up to bf that my parents would move in with us).
But now his maternal grandma died. I immediately wanted to pack up our stuff and head down, but his mom was insistent that no one change plans. Her husband's weekend trip still happened and then they're both assuring me I shouldn't take off work and go down for the funeral.
So I said fine and tried to be supportive. In the midst of all this, his mom has decided to come up for Thanksgiving (which is great! she's never visited us before).
And here's the issue:
How do I act? How do I welcome her? How do I "entertain" her while she's here?
And more importantly, how can I deal with this major cultural difference?