It’s that time again. Family reunion time. I absolutely hate family reunions. So, why do I go? It’s quite simple really. My mother has this way of making you feel guilty for not doing something she feels you should do. Therefore, I don’t even try to fight anymore. I go begrudgingly, put on my fake smile, and pray for the day to end without incident. It never does, but I am a firm believer in the power of prayer.
“Richard, Jason, Kel come on let’s go. We don’t want to be late.”
“Alright, coming mom.” Kel screams from upstairs.
“What do you mean, we don’t want to be late?” Richard says, “You don’t even want to go. I’m surprised you didn’t have me call and say that we’re all near death.”
“Don’t think, I didn’t think about.”
“Jason, give that back to me!” Kel screams as she’s chasing him down the stairs.
I always know when he’s up to no good because he gets this sinister laugh. “What is going on?” I say.
“He has my diary and he won’t give it back,” she says. “Give it back! Give it back now!”
“Jason!” I scream, “give it back to her right now. There will be plenty of time for arguing once we get to the reunion, but I cannot and will not have it starting now.” He hands her the diary and sulks off as if he thought he won the lottery only to find out he was one number off.
Richard comes in from the garage, “Are we ready to go?”
“Yes. Just let me make sure I have everything and I’ll be right out.”
Kel, Jason, and Richard head out to the car and as I’m double checking my list, Richard says; “Why do you do this to yourself every year? Why don’t you just say, No, we won’t be going this year?”
“Because. . .”
“I know, I know.” Richard interrupts, “because your mother has this way of making you feel guilty. Well, Sara” Richard says, “contrary to what she may believe, you are an adult with a husband, and two great kids (albeit somewhat debatable at times). You should be able to stand up to her.”
“If I remember correctly you tried that in the not so distant past. Refresh my memory, how’d that work out for you?”
“Ha Ha very funny. Come on let’s go,” he says as he turns and walks away.
This year the family reunion is at Aunt Crystal’s. It’s the first time in about five years. She lives about an hour and a half away, which gives me an opportunity to try to settle my nerves. Aunt Crystal is really my favorite aunt, but she is perhaps one of the most disliked family members. She has no problem saying what’s on her mind and if you have a problem with it, well then to hell with you.
Jason tells me, “Relax, mom. Maybe this year will be better.”
“That would be nice.”
By the time we get to Aunt Crystal’s house, I don’t have the usual angst. I feel much calmer and relaxed than I have ever been arriving at a family reunion, which in and of itself makes me nervous. Ironic, isn’t it?
We get there just as Aunt Crystal has gathered everyone for what I thought would be our usual we are family BS speech, but it was far from it. Aunt Crystal said, “We come together every year to honor, celebrate, and enjoy family, but every year we manage to get on each others nerves, piss each other off, and many of you have said you would never come to another family reunion. We have yet to show each other the love, honor, and respect that a family is supposed to show. When I was asked to host this year’s reunion, I didn’t want to because I didn’t want you bringing that negativity to my home.”
I looked around and was I glad to see that I wasn’t the only person perplexed about where this was going.
“This year we are going to have fun, and at the same time we are going to love and respect each other no matter whether or not we agree with their life’s choices. And if you are unable to abide by that, then I strongly suggest you leave now.”
You could see on some people’s faces that now all hopes of having any fun were now dashed. Now mind you these are the same people who are the annual trouble makers.
“Oh yeah,” Aunt Crystal said. “If you don’t abide by the rules of my house, I have no problem telling you to leave. I don’t care if it’s just me and one other person here.” She turned and left us all standing in the back yard dazed and confused.
She promptly returned and said, “have fun!”
And truth be told we did. For the first time in a long time we had fun. Even my archnemisis, Terry and I had a great time.