Loosening ties

October 25, 2010

So this past weekend there was some family drama.  And for once it was my family who was acting up.  Shocking I know.  We’re the normal ones.

The story is long and complex and boring to anyone who is not a member of my family.  In a nutshell, we were planning a celebration that has been going on for about 10 years and this year half the family can’t make it for various reasons that are beyond everyone’s control.  Normally this would not be a big deal, but my grandmother, who is pretty much the reason we have this celebration, is 98.  No one knows if she’ll make it to the next celebration.  So it’s kind of important for us all to meet up. 

This year there are some pretty big obstacles in the way.  A major move is happening with two family members and the day that has been chosen conflicts with a pretty important event in another family member’s life.  There are no other suitable weekends either and no one is really happy about postponing this until January, when the weather is not great.  And really, once you postpone a big celebration it’s kind of a death knell for that celebration as getting consensus on a date that works for 13 people is like herding cats.  Pretty much impossible.

It’s not that we don’t want to meet up but rather that life has gotten in the way.  Which sucks.  A lot.  I don’t see my family very much.  Geographically, we’re spread out from each other.  Roughly a three hour car ride separates each branch and that’s if traffic and weather co-operate.  This celebration was the one time of year we could all count on being in the same place at the same time and it’s always fun.  Stressful to prepare for (cooking, cleaning, baking, shopping, making, wrapping) but fun.  And good to see each other.  Some of us see each other regularly, but some of us only see each other this one day of the year.  Which is why it makes me sad that this year, it likely won’t happen.

I often complain about (and mock) my husband’s family for their “closeness”.  I kid (sort of, but mostly I’m serious) that his family is made up of the ties that bind.  His family often gets together (much more often than I’d voluntarily meet up) and many of them make a point of keeping in close contact with each other.  Many of them visit back and forth and honestly, if we wanted to (I generally don’t) we could be doing things with some member of his family every weekend of every month.  That’s a little (ok a lot) too much family for me.

But, on the other hand, it beats seeing relatives (who I do like) once, maybe twice a year.  It’d be nice to have some sort of happy medium.  I wish my family was a little more interested in visiting each other.  Of course I wish the Hubs’ family would be a little LESS interested in visiting each other and while I’m at it, I also wish we’d win the Big One so I could retire and be a lady who lunches (and knits).  But a leopard can’t change its spots.

We’re trying to figure out a solution but I think this year’s celebration just won’t happen.  Maybe we’ll do it in the spring but I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t happen at all.  Which is too bad.  Because sometimes, it’s nice to have ties that bind.  Sometimes.