Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trip- Vacation- Holiday- Traveling to see family

All those mean something different to me. How about you?

As far back as I can remember I have always thought there was a distinction between going on a vacation over going to see family.  For the longest time I assumed other people in the world thought this too. That was until my boyfriend (now husband) got his feathers ruffled about going to see family. He kept saying it was a vacation and I kept saying it wasn't.

I see traveling to see family as an obligation or necessity. Mind you, most of the time this is not a BAD obligation to have. Visiting family is usually never restful or stress free.

I see going on a vacation or holiday as way to get out of the normal routine of life. A way to either see something new, go exploring, or sit on the beach all day. These are just examples to illustrate my point.

Can you go on vacation with extended family. Sure but it won't fit my definition of what a true vacation means to me. Why? Simple. While you might get everyone out of their daily lives, it isn't stress free plus there is all the hierarchy of the family dynamics. Can you strive to help alleviate some of these things? Sure. But no one can deny the underlying river of so many years of family togetherness and tensions. They are always there.

So, here I sit planning a crazy family reunion and actually trying to make it as much alike a vacation as I can for all those attending. It's funny because on the surface if you were just to look at my choices of lodging you might not get why I finally settled on them. If you ask me to explain it then you'll come to understand how I actually tried to get everyone (yes, 13 people) their own bed, and all the adults their own space away from the larger group at hand.

In another week I'll have been with my husband for 13 years. In those 13 years I have observed how his family interacts with each other and what can set off individuals. Over the years I have figured out that my mother in-law sees cooking as a duty and not an enjoyable one. While nobody expects her to always provide meals for all of us, she has it in her head that she needs to feed us all. The longer everyone is together the simpler the meals become and the snappier she becomes. I have noticed that two of my three sister in-laws always get the short end of the stick when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Never mind that we're all over the age of 30, they are still some what expected not to quibble about sleeping on a couch in a common shared living space. Or to sleep on the floor on an air mattress. And finally everyone caters to the oldest sister. If she needs anything then most family members jump through hoops to give it to her. While some of her requests are normal others can be a bit bratty because it would seem compromise isn't really in her vocabulary. Sometimes I think a lot her needs are actually dictated to her by her husband. Honestly, while I know every single member of my husband's family has an opinion they mostly go with the flow.

I relay all of this because many of these very things went into my decisions for lodging choices for our reunion. I couldn't ever find a house big enough for all 13 of us. The tag line might have said sleeps 16 but then you come to find out there are only 3 or 4 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms. How in the world is that going to work for a big group of people? My favorites were when I was reading a description of a place that supposedly could sleep a lot of people that they only had dinnerware for 8, hmm...you guys wait until we wash these plates up after we eat. I don't think so! By taking the house option off the table I then went looking for cabin like places. Knowing full well that having to walk out of a cabin in the middle of the night just to go to the bathroom was out of the question. I found some that I liked and decided it was as good as it gets. Now this means the family won't be sitting down to huge meals together but hey that's an instant anti-stress for my mother in-law! But we all would be on the same property for togetherness. That's what the spirit of a reunion is right?

I can't make everyone happy about every aspect of this reunion and I know that. I wish more people would accept this.  I can't make it be sunny either and I know for sure that where we're going has a history of unpredictable weather. The idea of being stuck in close quarters while it pours for five straight days didn't sound fun to me. Hence why staying in cabins sounded even better.

I'm not sure what is going to happen now. I keep getting more changes thrown at me and I watch as prices go up and lodging evaporates. Sometimes you really can't wait anymore, you just have to J U M P.

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