To paraphrase the opening line of Anna Karenina, happy families are all alike. Unhappy families are unique in their unhappiness; or as is sometimes the case, in their weirdness. Here we sit at the end of 2018. I’m currently sitting in my father-in-law’s house while his wife cooks breakfast. So far for the last four days we’ve done a lot of eating and a lot of driving between father-in-law and mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Always an interesting balance.
This year, FiL’s wife had several different families over (she has four children); daughter and family live in the house behind this one, and one son and his family were up from LA until the day after Christmas. Another son and his kids came down from Sonoma for a visit yesterday. Mike and I have only met most of these people once, maybe twice. We ended up going for a walk for an hour or so to get away from the chaos and our feeling awkward and out of place. Somehow, that never happens with my family. Or at least I don’t feel like it does. Even Mike says it feels different. Maybe it’s because we are now the elders of the family and therefore we are keeping things together. But, I don’t see the significant others/partners sitting apart from the rest and it seems that Mike and I do at some of his side of the family gathering.
That feeling got me thinking. How out of place do people feel in blended families? In this case, my FiL has been with his wife for 25 years; he’s seen these grandkids, and now great-grandkids grow up. They call him Grampa Jim. Mike & I are not really a part of this family as much as my FiL would like it. Sometimes it’s almost as if people want my MiL to just disappear. Which, of course, is not going to happen, especially not for my husband, her eldest child. I don’t know. I’m rambling, but it’s been a weird week.
Today will be a day of hanging out. I will try to get some writing done and maybe we will go for a walk. Tomorrow, we head down to Santa Cruz to visit with Mike’s other sister and her family. And, meet up with mother-in-law and first sister-in-law (are you confused yet? I know I am). As usual, I’m just along for the ride. We head home this weekend and back to our comfortable routine. We’ll shake that up soon enough.