Lessons from an almost-over family reunion

1. I am an introvert. No, really. I adore parties, love people, am a great conversationalist, have quite excellent social skills when I choose to1, but holy fuck: if I don’t get enough downtime between activities or being around a crowd, the results are not pretty.

1a. Any group larger than two, or maybe three — counting myself — is a crowd.

2. The Boychick is quite possibly also an introvert, because his ability to use words and empathize and behave as a social, gentle creature — as he is 95% of the time around his immediate family — decreases in direct proportion to the number of people around him increasing.

2a. Except for his younger cousin, whom he professes love for when away from, but is cruel to in astounding ways when close to, regardless of who else is present. This is slightly made up for by his utter, and mutual, adoration of his older cousin. But it still makes me cringe and weep.

3. The one thing a restaurant really needs in order to be family-friendly is to have a kid-accepting attitude. Crayons help. Clowns are unnecessary. Candles are not incompatible as long as the servers are happy to take them away if asked. I’ve felt more welcome with the Boychick in a restaurant with chandeliers and candles and a wine list longer than my arm2 than I have in some places with balloons and picture menus. It’s all about attitude.

4. The more busy I am, the more I need to write. The more busy I am, the less time I have to write. Next time, I’m putting it on the schedule, because as antisocial as it seems, it’s better than the alternative. (See also 1 and 1a.)

5. A seven day visit, no matter how stressful, may it worth it for the one late-night one-on-one two-hour conversation all by itself.

5a. But more of those connection moments would be better.

5b. Staying up late for a two-hour conversation, no matter how wonderful, seems like a Phenomenally Bad Idea the next morning, when the child(ren), who had been sleeping the whole time, wake up and demand that adults also be awake and chipper and ready for More Fun, regardless of how sleep deprived they may be.

6. If no one is making the decisions, no decisions get made. Herding cats might actually be easier, because cats at least know what they want and will tell you (even if it is “to get the hell away from here!”).

6a. Don’t ask me to make any decisions: see 1, 1a, 4, and 5b.

7. Never, ever, ever again will I schedule or agree to a visit during which The Man is in training the entire time, thus leaving me as the sole on-duty parent during days and days of Super Fun Activities, any one of which would challenge me, the combination of which about does me in.3

8. Destination reunions are sounding better all the time. How’s the Caribbean in February?

  1. And have the spoons to.
  2. Mother’s Bistro and Bar in Portland, Oregon. Go there, if you can.
  3. Did I mention I’m an introvert?
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6 Responses to Lessons from an almost-over family reunion

  1. I finished my NaNoWriMo in ’09 during a family Thanksgiving fête I was hosting; the next year I ran my scheduled run before I started the dinner. These sound like pissant accomplishments but I felt guilty about shutting out my “guests” to take time for both. It’s hard (as a female and mother) to take this time for oneself. Glad my partner totally supports me in it, it makes it easier.

  2. You come by it honestly, at least on your dad’s side.

    I have found dog walking to be a great excuse to pull away for a bit of alone time :-) But it’s a bit more challenging when you have kid responsibilities. It may get easier in a few years, when they are a bit older. Not that I would know, mind you, but seems to me they’ll get to the point where they won’t need such constant supervision, and can be pointed at an activity and left to do it.

    I’m glad you got in those 1-1 conversations, at least.

  3. Pingback: I Am Fat « Raising My Boychick

  4. I get very annoyed when relatives think the way Mikko (now 3) behaves around them is how he behaves at all times. Even when we try to point out, “He’s overstimulated! He’s exhausted!” there is censure that apparently we must be doing something wrong because (a) our child alternates between glee and utter meltdowns and (b) we’re not stopping it.

    Did I mention all three of us are introverts? And homebodies? And not very social? And like routine?

    Yeah, visits and traveling and reunions are fun, for a bit, and then — not.

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