Most every holiday that comes down the pike is family time. Not just my trio, but also all of my immediate family. We usually gather at Middle Sister’s house because hers is the largest and she has a fantastic back yard. That’s 24 of us. Since everyone is out of school, all of us were in attendance for the Memorial Day barbecue.
After years of get-togethers, patterns have emerged. Young people liven up a party immediately. Great conversation, youthful exuberance, ready to have a good time. With five of them in college, the conversations and insights are even better. They are emerging adults and are now on equal footing with the rest of the adult family. They have the future firmly clasped in their hands and it’s exciting to be near them.
The small ones bring their own light to the party, as they always do, bringing smiles and laughs and demands for interaction. There are six of them ranging from ages 3 to 11. Family time is in full swing.
The men (my brother is the exception)… are mostly duds. They usually plop themselves in some spot, barely speak unless spoken to, have little to no interaction, and look bored. Apparently the brother-in-laws have found over years that they really have nothing in common, they don’t really like each other much, and don’t even try anymore. Some of them stop coming to family get-togethers. Duds. Fifty-year-old duds.
But it’s my contention that there is so much more to family time. They act like they are left out on purpose or something. Fun can be had if only they would seek it out. Come be with the silly young people. Come watch the kids play and run. Run around yourselves for a bit. Strike up a conversation with an eleven year old, or the fourteen year old, or the nineteen year old, or the twenty-two year old. Play a hand of poker with the young bucks. Play dominoes. Joke with the old folks, joke with the sisters. Bring fun with you, horse shoes, sling shots for the kids, water balloons. Make the new brother in law feel welcomed. Pick up a baby. Follow the family around. Become the family.
As I was driving my dud home, he said, “I’m not used to being so sedentary.” As though visiting family was a real strain on his arse. Sigh.