When I first met my husband, one of the things that stood out about him the most was his family. It was big and loud and everyone was involved in everyone else’s business. All of his siblings lived withing 15 minutes of one another and getting together was a weirdly frequent occurrence for this California girl with a small family.
When hurricane Katrina relocated us to Colorado for five years, I found myself missing that big, loud family, and mourning the fact that our children wouldn’t get to experience that near-suffocating closeness. There would be no Thanksgivings with 40+ extended family members or family crawfish boils or overcrowded birthday parties.
Then something wonderful happened, the opportunity to move back to Louisiana presented itself and we took it. I was eager to get back for many reasons, but the biggest one of all was that family connection. I thought it would all be the same, only bigger because of all of the new marriages and births that had happened while we were gone. Only it wasn’t. Suddenly, everyone was too busy for everyone else. It was a struggle to get everyone in one place. Eventually, that struggle went away. Not because we made a bigger effort, but because everyone just stopped trying. Except for me. I still try, I invite everyone to everything; not because I feel like I have to, but with the sincere hope that they will show up!
This Christmas will make the second year in a row that we haven’t all managed to get together. Not even for a few hours on Christmas eve. And I think the part that bothers me the most is that I am the only one who seems to care. I honestly don’t understand how things have gone so far and why nobody is interested in fixing it. It’s very hard not to feel that it’s personal and I find myself with hurt feelings and anger at the fact that my kids are being deprived of this wonderful thing that is the extended family.
Some days I feel like I should just stop caring. But here’s the thing: I can’t. And I honestly think that someone NEEDS to care. Maybe if I keep caring, someone else will catch on and start caring too, maybe the caring will spread like wildfire and things can get back to the way they were. Maybe.