Friday, February 18, 2011
In the years since the holiday gatherings, our families have grown, grown up, and, it seems, grown apart. With some exceptions, family gatherings seem to center around who is getting either married or buried. Last summer we did have a picnic reunion, with much of the family able to attend. There were some cousins I had not seen since I was very, very, very young; and others that I had kept more in touch with. But at the same time, there were several who could not be there. The last “reunion” had been at Auntie’s funeral, nearly three years earlier. Why so long between cousin sightings? Lots of reasons – money, work, distance, and time seem to be the largest common denominator. OK, so the in-person, face-to-face family reunion is not always a practical feat to pull off.
For those who might not know, I’m part of a small blogging group, where we write from the same writing prompt week. Last week’s topic was “Family Reunions” and this week’s is “How Busy Is Too Busy?” (Since I’m running a bit behind in my writing, I decided to combine the two.) A few days before I sat down to write this, I posted a question on my Facebook status, asking what people thought about family reunions. Answers ranged from the amount of work and planning involved and the simple logistics of making one happen, to knowing that there are people weirder than themselves in the family, to the awkwardness of the whole thing.
Awkward? A Coble thinks family reunions are awkward? You know, in a way, I agree with that Coble. It’s awkward to see people you haven’t kept in touch with in recent years. Life does get busy. Job schedules get in the way of our having fun. Kids and sports take up a lot of weekends. But I think there is a deeper reason why we feel awkward getting together over burgers and visiting in the park.
We just aren’t as close-knit as we once were, or wish we were. We may be family by blood or marriage, but we don’t know each other. Relationship-wise, some of us are practically strangers. Oh, if we passed each other on the street we’d stop and talk a few minutes, but be honest. If we drew names for a gift exchange, how many of us could buy a personal, meaningful gift (meaning no cash or gift cards) without the aid of a wish-list or input from the recipient’s immediate family members?
Here’s an idea. You can do whatever you want with it – take it as it is, ignore it, improve it, it’s all up to you.
Let’s give it a try. What do you say?
at 8:14 PM