I’ve been thinking all day about this post. Mostly because I want to make sure the words come out right, and that it’s not perceived to be something that it’s not. Because I have that problem.
We got together with “the family” on Easter Sunday. Now, if you know anything about our little foursome, it’s that we don’t really “DO” Easter. And that’s okay. And it’s okay that other people do. And I’m not here to talk about that.
What I am here to talk about is the events/conversations that happened before the actual day of, and the conversations that carried over into that day. You see… there’s a certain… chaos that happens when we try and “plan” a get together with my in-laws anymore. The idea of getting together is thrown out (usually via group text message to the women who have cell phones), a “menu” is planned (then changed) and “assignments” are given out. Which, in theory, sounds SUPER organized. Trust me, it’s not. And it drives me fucking batty, but it is what it is. And I can’t change people, and I don’t hold “events” at MY house, so I just show up when I’m told and bring what I’m assigned. And it works out just fine.
The problem usually arises in informing those who do NOT have a cell phone. And I’m not sure if that’s because grandma is expecting an old fashioned phone call from the host to be invited, or if it’s just because no one tells her until the last minute. And by no one, I mean us, and my mother in law. And usually us again. And then a text message the day before asking if “anyone has told Grandma what time tomorrow.” And then another phone call to grandma from my mother in law (or us, or both). It’s the same every year, for every “event,” for the last…. I can’t tell you how many years.
And the conversation surrounding it is always the same.
“I’m not upset. I know you all are too busy. Everyone is just so busy with their lives, no one cares about little old me anymore.”
As we are sitting in her living room for the second or third time that month, trying to keep her up to date on everything that’s going on in our lives.
At first, I felt guilty. Like we weren’t spending enough time with her. Like we should be over there every single Sunday for hours and hours, and maybe even make dinner… like we USED to. This family had a very strong habit of being all up in everyone elses’ business for MANY years. And we would all get together every single Sunday and have dinner. Holidays were DAY LONG events, and would include breakfasts, and snacks, and dinners well into the night. And you know what? That was fine, until we started having kids.
Once we had Oliver, we stopped staying so late. Sure, there were exceptions, like when we actually LIVED with my sister in law, or on the 4th of July (hullo? Fireworks AFTER dark, thankyouverymuch). But mostly, we would “eat and run.” And then, one Easter, my sister in law stood her ground and said “I can’t do this anymore. I need my space.” And you know what? We were okay with that. It was EASIER that way. We wouldn’t get together every, single, weekend. We could hang out sometimes, but do our OWN thing. And we still saw each other, and we still did holiday DAYS, and that was okay, too.
And then we all started coupling off. Dating, getting married, having babies (omg, my niece is amazing… more on her later), and blending families, and buying houses, and travelling…. and the visits to each other got fewer and fewer. And again, at first, I felt OH SO GUILTY. Like, I should be reaching out to these people, they’re Daryl’s family, we should be getting together once in a while for dinner, and we should like actually LIKE each other. And I tried that, and we found out that while we love them, sometimes we don’t like them… and you know what? That’s okay.
So when grandma started in on how she felt about “no one coming to see her” and “how things have changed,” do you know what I told her?
I said “Grandma, it’s okay. Things change, people change, it’s okay that we don’t all want to BE together all the time. Things are NOT like they were, and that’s okay.”
And it is.
It’s okay that I don’t call my family (or his) when things go wrong. I SHOULDN’T be calling them. I’m an adult. I can handle my own.
It’s okay that when I am down, and I need lifting up, that I DON’T depend on my family anymore. That was their job when I was younger. I have an amazing husband who loves me no matter what, kids who I adore and cannot live without, and friends who lift me up every single chance they get. My family is still there for me, but I’m not a child who NEEDS her parents anymore. Support systems shift, and change, and grow, and that’s okay.
It’s okay that we don’t want to spend every freaking holiday with either family (mine OR his). It’s okay that we sometimes want to just hang out with our kids (or our friends). That’s what being an adult is… making those decisions, and knowing that it’s okay to be in a room full of people who may not be blood related to you, but love you just the same (sometimes more). It’s okay that we may not DO holidays like everyone else in our families, and sometimes that means opting out of “events.” And it’s okay that when it’s too stressful, or too much for us to handle, that we say “nope. Not gonna do it this year.”
It’s okay that families grow apart. It’s okay that families don’t spend every single Sunday around the dinner table, talking about what they did that week. That’s reserved for Daryl, Oliver, Archer and I. Make no mistake, people are WELCOME around my table. I LOVE feeding people. But it’s okay for us to just BE US. The four of us.
And it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say yes. It’s okay to just live YOUR life for YOU and the people you love most in this world. It’s all okay…
Something amazing happened to me that day that I told grandma it was all “okay.” It suddenly became okay. No more guilt. No more obligatory feelings towards anyone else but the two people I created and the person I created them with. I still have a long ways to go… but man, I felt free.
And side note: had the best time I’ve had in a LONG time that Easter Sunday. Because I just didn’t feel obligated to stay. Don’t misunderstand me, I WANTED to be there…. but I didn’t feel like I HAD to be. ❤