Season by Peary
who has had married children or in laws of their own should be able to identify
with what I’m about to say. This time of the year (the holiday season) puts an
enormous amount of stress on family relationships.
The major decision
to be made is… who goes where without hurting anyone’s feelings? If we went to
your parents house last Thanksgiving, do we go to mine this year? If we all get
together at our house for Christmas, where do we go next year? The problem seems
to only get worse once your children go off and get married. Now, we have to deal
with the in-laws of their spouses. So, it keeps on getting more difficult as the
years wear on. The stress of trying to put everyone together in one place at one
time seems almost impossible at times.
Some families try to hold family
reunions every so often and rotate these from place to place as conditions allow.
Here again, we run into the obstacle of getting everyone from one place to another
for several days and nights at a time. Distances and work schedules tend to put
a crimp in plans and expectations.
I’ve dealt with this issue all of my
life. Some of the most stressful periods in my life have occurred as a result
of my parents fighting over where to go and when they should go. My Mother’s parents
or my Father’s? There didn’t seem to be any clear cut plan or simple method of
resolving the issue from one year to another.
Like most families, our
kids live in different places. Fortunately, we all live in the same state so it
isn’t like some of them have to travel from one part of the world to get here.
Just trying to coordinate with everyone’s schedule is really the hardest part.
I suppose I’m somewhat slow, but it has taken me all of these years to get to
a possible solution. This year I rented a six bedroom, six bath beach house for
Labor Day. Everyone is off that weekend and not many of us have so-called family
obligations like we do for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it seemed like the perfect
holiday for all of us to get together. I was not wrong.
So, for the first
time in about thirteen years, my wife and I ended up spending three wonderful
days with our four sons, our three daughters in laws, our two granddaughters and
we had a great time. They laughed, played games, cooked, played in the sand and
in the ocean and just chilled out. The perfect holiday.
No one got stressed
out, no one got upset, no arguments and no conflicts with any one else’s parents
or in-laws. This is going to be our time of the year. We discussed where everyone
is spending Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that’s out of the way, over and done
with. We can move on to next year.
Everything went great except for the
required family photo. Trying to get eleven people in the same place at the same
time to sit still for a picture is harder than you think. Some were at the beach,
some were at lunch, some were asleep….so it isn’t easy to corral everyone together
for ten minutes and try to grab a group shot. I finally managed to get it done
and then I could leave everyone alone for the remainder of the weekend. Those
pictures are very important to me. Everyone changes so quickly, especially the
grandchildren. I want a record of those changes. This was my only requirement
for the entire weekend…..
Sitting around listening to all of my family
talk to one another and discuss things fills my heart to the brim. I wouldn’t
trade those moments for anything. To me this is what life is all about. Just being
around them makes me want to try harder and keep on going. We have so much to
be thankful for and so many opportunities still out there waiting for us to grab
Life is full of stress and strain on each of us. We all need
to take a few days out of our schedules and spend time with those that we love.
Family is the true foundation of our society.
© Peary Perry
Comments go to firstname.lastname@example.org
From North America - September 11, 2009 column
in 80 newspapers
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