Family get-togethers were a time I considered hell when I was a child. A time I dreaded for not only were they boring but also had to deal with the disputes that would erupt since I have a family of all types among us. I heard topics like religion, politics, and lifestyles that should not be in discussions, but it never failed to erupt while I constantly looked at the clock, waiting for the magic hour.
“When will this torture end,” I pondered.
You would hope that watching TV would distract me from listening to my family chatting, but no such luck. Except for a year or two, the shows the adults put on the screen were not for children. Adult shows I had no interest in watching. Instead of constant action and carnage, it was some sweet story about the problems of life and overcoming it. If only I had the social media of today back in those days. Take my mind away to the soap operas of today’s society. As an adult now, I have very little interest in the drama put forth by social media, and the trauma it causes to the younger generation. It makes me laugh, but also scares me too.
Another thing I tried to keep me away from family is to read a book. Yep! We still had books to read in those days. I know! There are still books, but fewer and less read. Listen to a kid today try to read a book, and I worry. My God! I sound like my older generation chastising the younger generation.
“Kids of today have no imagination,” I heard many times as I tried to ignore them as I pretended to watch the boring movie on TV.
“Should play board games or cards,” said by the adults. “At least go outside and play.”
Once again I tried to ignore them. For one, I have watched family members play games, and they ended up bickering over the dumbest things. Miniscule issues that erupt where the game ends and people go to separate rooms. For going outside, most of the time we get together, it is dark outside and either raining or freezing. Not a time to be out playing around. There were times I rather be out in the cold instead of listening to these people yell.
For many people the meal can be the best time with all the different dishes, but when you are a young kid, who is quite picky, it was not a fun occasion. Especially when you have aunts that start squawking at you for eating so little. They feel like I’m disrespecting them by skipping a lot of their dishes.
“I’m a very picky eater!” I wanted to scream at them.
They should know after the first five years, but every year they complain about how little I eat.
“Time to head home!” it is always great to hear from my father’s mouth.
No longer did I have to listen to my uncle going on one of his many road trips on his motorcycle. Listen to how many times he got drunk and the many girls he meets along the way. My mother takes me from the room, but I can still hear his loud mouth.
Many times I would have a terrible headache by the end of the night because of many of the adults who loved to smoke throughout the night inside. During those days there was no outside smoking, so the rest of us didn’t have to deal with second hand smoking. Nothing wrong with smoking back in those days.
“We are all going to die one day,” many say.
You don’t need to push it along.
Family get-togethers were not fun times for me in my younger years. I didn’t care for the events and really didn’t care for the people.
“Thank God it’s over,” I muttered so many times.
Time ticks by as I get out of my child years into my teens until I become an adult.
Family events happen less often as families expand. There were ones who passed away, moved away, split from the family, or just didn’t show up anymore.
I was one who stayed away until my mother told me I should go since there were family members who would not be around much longer. I grumbled, complained, kicked and punched, but eventually caved in and went to a family gathering.
It didn’t take long being there that it was an eye-opening event. It turned out to be a fun get together. The ones who bickered were much quieter or gone from the event. Many of the topics discussed. I would converse with them. The days of being picky were over for the most part, eating from many of the dishes. There seemed to be more positivity around the house.
“I can like these family events,” I thought.
When I went home that night I pondered on the get together.
“Was it the family member’s fault in my younger years, or was it me?” I asked myself.
I went to these family events as a child already full of dread. All these times I heard them laughing as a group I was in the other room moping. Any little thing of negativity I fed off of so it gave me a reason to hate it. Any positive vibes ignored and pushed away.
As the years went by and life slowed down for me I saw the fuller picture. The fun times as we chatted overwhelming the negative ones. To engage with the older generation, my generation, and younger generation were fun. And I learned how life is so different with the generations. So much changes in such a short amount of time. Each generation laughs at the other one. We learn from each one.
I sit here and those dreaded family events have become a blessing. At one time I wanted nothing to do with this family, and wouldn’t mind if I ever saw them again. Now, I am so appreciative to have a family to go to and enjoy some fun times. I appreciate them.