I am poised on the brink of some massive family stuff. My mother is turning 80 later this week. And so there will be two parties. It's not that the two sides of the family don't get along or anything like that; it's just that there are WAY too many people. Hence there's just no way we could do a party without it turning into an *affair*, complete with a hall and a caterer and all that other junk.
Therefore, the first will be my mother's side, held at a Chinese buffet near their home, on the 12th. I am taking a train in on the 11th and staying until the 14th. The second will be at my aunt's in NJ, on the 19th. For that one, both Mr. j and I are coming in on the 18th and staying until the 20th.
In the meantime, the number of people staying at my folks' is spiraling out of control. As in, I received an email, asking which couch I preferred. Argh. I would go to a motel, but it just ain't in the budget. And so I flipped a coin and it came up guest bedroom, rather than den.
I suspect I will also be on driving duty. I have been on photo album duty already, which has resulted in pics of mystery babies and forgotten images of their friends from God knows when and holy crap when did your hair look like THAT?
Helpful hint from jes - never, EVER, make it apparent if you're at all good at anything like that. 'Cause you'll be stuck doing it every f'in' time.
But I do it, I do it because I have to, but also because of course I love my mother and I want her to be happy. I haven't got the bucks to give her a trip or a day spa visit or an iPad or whatever. So the album is it. I wrote a sonnet.
In dieting news, this whole trip will be an occasion to try to stay away from really bad foods and squeeze in some form of exercise. Since pretty much no one but me regularly works out, this will be tricky, as this is supposed to be Family Togetherness Time (TM). Hence running off (literally) for an hour every day may not be in the cards. As for walking with someone, er, I'm not so sure I want to do that, either. I'll find a way; I always do. This might involve getting up super-early. Pain in the patoot but otherwise I get no exercise and no alone time and that is not good.
Now, I realize there is very little above about me actually enjoying any of this. I do like seeing my family and all of that. And I haven't seen my cousins in a LONG time (although I keep up with most of them on Facebook, so it's not like I'm completely clueless as to how their lives are currently going). But it just seems so trying.
And, the unspoken bit, the part that nobody mentions, is, we all wonder - is this the last big birthday where all are together? Is this the swan song, the final hurrah? Or is it one in a continuing series, and we'll laugh about how silly and scared we were when she hits 90 or 100? Of course, there's no way for me to know, or for anyone to know, not right now.
And so I will go. And I will grin and bear it, and will try to have my own needs fulfilled as I dovetail them with others' needs and it all gets wrapped up in a pretty little anxiety bow.
That frustrated scream you're hearing from the vague direction of Long Island? That would be me. Enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers.