Turkeys and Families and Such…


Right. Thanksgiving.  It’s here again.  And I’ve been avoiding it again, while at the same time longing for my own collection of warm thanksgiving memories. But holidays have long been a complicated affair, crossing three and sometimes 4 households as we try and navigate all the complicated dynamics within our extended families. I so often feel that I am the hub for and endless number of spokes. It is dizzying.

I’ll give you all the factors that annually have to be taken into consideration: Our own home, the triplets father’s home (which includes their grandparents and an Uncle), my Mother’s home (which at times has included another Uncle), the Golf Pro’s  family home (their family’s traditional gathering place every Sunday and Holiday), occasionally a rehabilitation facility where Youngest Daughter’s birth mom is getting treatment.

Add to this mix the various times that some of these parties are not talking to each other and the fact that they ALL want to see some of the kids. Being in the middle of this over the past 8 years has been exhausting…and has not ever really allowed us to establish our own holiday traditions. Which I regret. I often wish I was one of those people who was more comfortable getting my own way come hell or high water. But I’m not, so here we are….often so busy trying to accommodate the needs of other family members and perhaps that is why I don’t plan them differently.

This year, watching the Pioneer Woman’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay inspired me to do just one thing.  To swear that I would have a peaceful family Thanksgiving in my home with my kids next year. I concede, that with elderly relatives, it may not be on the actual day, but I will claim a day for my family to be together and strengthen our own bonds instead of spreading ourselves across the greater L.A. area. I don’t expect to never have to do it, I just miss the idea of a holiday with the kids and I at home.

Are we always this owned by our extended family or is it just that I am so very bad at saying no and guarding the need to carve out my own life? Will I remember when my children marry that it will be my turn to take a step back and become the extended family?  I hope so, and I hope that this experience will have made me sensitive to the needs of some future young family.  It’s not that I won’t want to share holidays with them, it’s just that my place will be different and the health of their new family will be best preserved by letting them build their own customs and family holidays without the pressure to keep observing mine. I hope they can count on me for that.

And with 6 kids I wonder too what their holidays will look like. Will they take turns at each others houses? Will they celebrate individually with their families? Will there be rifts and years of misunderstandings?  I suppose it’s all possible, I’m just sorry that I have spent so much of this time in our lives accommodating everyone else rather than teaching them to build traditions for their own families in the future. Hope it’s not too late…

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4 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Danielle

    A holiday I do not have to worry about :) On xmas however, I am scattered alike you – Ex husbands family, Golf Pros Mums Family, Golf Pros Dads Family, My mums, My dads – you get the hint! I hear you!!!!!!!!!!! We should make a pact to each other to plan a holiday in our OWN homes, with our kids, to create the memories you talk of and make all the family visit if they wish. Although now I have typed that, I know, you know – it wouldnt work! Can not possibly mix them (all the families) all together; at my end anyway, I am sure it would cause me more hell then running around like a mad women!!! lol

    February 10th, 2011

  2. admin

    Spot on Danielle! That’s us too.

    February 10th, 2011

  3. This is one area that I regret when it comes to raising my kids. I have three wonderful sons and lots of people who love them and their dad (and I guess me too), but it was always a challenge to see everyone at Christmas and Thanksgiving. But oh, did we give it the old college try. Driving from here to there to see this group and that group, being overstuffed and trying to eat three meals at three different places, then not really getting to spend any kind of quality time with any of them. We would all come home after being on the road for most of the day on Christmas and Thanksgiving and saying, “Is it over yet? Can I please finally sit down and have a few minutes to think?” It was exhausting for all of us and the kids really hated it. My oldest son now refuses to celebrate Christmas and I think this is part of it. It was just such an ordeal.

    So in the last few years we’ve decided that Thanksgiving is just for us, for my husband and me and our three sons (if we’re lucky enough to get them all together), and my mother-in-law, who lives by herself at 88 and has no one else (and is the best grandmother ever). We have a wonderful feast and enjoy each other and it’s just for us. On Christmas my husband and I still try to see at least some of the family, but the “boys” are all grown now and have jobs and other commitments that would keep them from it, even if they wanted to, which I doubt. But we always reserve Christmas morning just for us. We usually get together on Christmas Eve then spend the morning opening gifts and visiting. Your family–your immediate family is the most important–everyone else should realize that and if they love you they will give you a break.

    February 15th, 2011

  4. admin

    I don’t know which direction we’ll end up with this, but I’d just like next year to be less harried, you know?

    February 15th, 2011

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