Ooooh those family dinners

I love a good holiday. The extra days off. The excuse to eat fattening food.

But

Those family dinners are downright painful.

‘Get rid of the toxic people in you life’. This is the advice I’ve read over and over again. Truly, I have enough demons in my head.  I don’t need my friends planting even more negative thoughts.

But

Then there’s my family. The chain smoking bigoted alcoholic parents.  They’ve lived a hard life.  Working long and hard for everything they had.  My younger years were great.  There is an incredible amount of freedom granted to kids of alcoholic parents.  I really should have no complaints.  I was well fed, well clothed, went to school and had friends.  My summers were spent with my grandparents at their cottage – even more freedom.  My brother and I were close.  My parents simply had a ‘hands off’ method of child rearing.  I made mistakes.  I learned from them.

But I digress.

Family dinners are now low key.  My mother often refusing to cook, orders questionable Chinese food and makes me pay.  My kids don’t want to go because they’ll smell smokey and my daughter knows that her grandmother doesn’t really like her.  (Because boys are so much easier to raise??? Thanks mom.)

It wasn’t always like this. I remember big family get together’s at my grandparents house on a lake. In the summer we would all gather together bringing food, swimming in the lake. In the winter the house was big enough to accommodate at least 30 people.  Cousins, aunts, and uncles would be dressed in their Easter or Christmas finest.  There would be sooo much food.  The volume was loud, with everyone wanting to make their opinion heard.   The extended family reconnected.  I miss those days.

This Easter I was faced with a new reality.  The divorced person reality.  My kids went off with their dad to spend time with his family.  The family I was part of for 30 years.  It was unbelievably hard.  Thankfully, a friend stepped up and took me to Ottawa for the weekend.   Even though it rained all weekend, I had a great time.  I had no time to let the demons tell me what a terrible person I am or how my in-laws no longer seem to care about me.

Again I am amazed to discover my wonderful, supportive friends.

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