Some families are not close. I know families that spend time together, but don't necessarily know each other or even really enjoy each other's company. They might have awkward or toxic relationships or they might just do get togethers because it's an obligation, because that's what family do, spend holidays and special days together. Hell, we do that too, I won't deny that. It's something I hate about family life...the obligations. DETEST them.
But the difference in my family, I think, and in families like mine, is that we genuinely know each other and like to spend time talking to each other regularly. Should be more, but we do it. Long phone conversations. Still. After all these years. Even living in the same town. I love that.
My brother, who lives in another town, and I, decided a long time ago that we needed to make time to talk. So we have a weekly phone date. We talk on the phone most weeks for an hour or more...sometimes about stupid stuff, about stuff going on in our lives, stuff going on in our lives, and about our feelings. I love our talks, and the chance to get to know my brother again.
I also often end up having long, unplanned talks on the phone with my mom...and sometimes with my dad. I really cherish these times. I love that we are close and can share our lives with each other and really talk to each other...not just casual chit chat at required holiday gatherings.
I want to try to do more. I need to make a conscious effort to just pick up the phone more and chat. I always enjoy talking to my family. They are wonderful people. And I feel like I truly know them, because we do talk about how we are feeling...which is a really good feeling.
What I hate are obligations. I want to get together and spend time with my parents and brother (and his wife) because I want to, not because someone says it's a holiday. I really do hate holidays. Hate them. Because they are required. They suck the joy out of me. If I want to celebrate, I want to celebrate because *I* want to. The only holidays I enjoy are birthdays because not everyone celebrates them, so they are not always an obligation for every person. Plus it's the one thing we make a big deal about...for the kids.
But Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, 4th of July....bleh. Obligations.
We have actually found a really nice solution to Mother's/Father's Day though that works for me now. So I am enjoying those again. Special bfast here for our family, and spend the first half of the day home with just our little (4) family, relaxing...then I take my parent out at some point alone and at a different time, Adam, his. It's intimate and lovely. Problem solved. If only I could find a solution to the other holidays that doesn't involve all the chaos and obligations and stress. Maybe someday.
In the meantime, I'll try to keep finding ways to connect deeply with my extended family outside of holidays, making the day to day meaningful.