The second half of May has been a little hectic as I’ve tried to maintain the daily posts while visiting with family and friends on a two week vacation to New Zealand. The last ten days have been spent with family in Auckland, Taranaki and the past few days in Taupo.
The Auckland part of our holiday was spent celebrating with family and friends at the wedding of a niece. Our family, like most others, enjoys frequent short bursts of each other’s company. Any more time together and history and distorted memories cause tension while we make more unpleasant memories to tout out at future gatherings. The MOTH’s (Man of the House) family is made up of seven sisters to whom the MOTH is the only brother … and the eldest.
If you’ve been to a few weddings you will be aware of the friction seating arrangements can cause. I imagine every wedding has a “Table 9″. It’s where we put those family members, or friends, we’re not willing to foist on unsuspecting guests. You all know the ones … their behaviours can be unpredictable or they revel in raking up ‘better-forgotten-past-family faux pas” and being the fire-cracker that starts the next family feud.
It was a surprise then, to find ourselves at Table 9 … WOOT! We’re generally well-behaved! It was a strategic move one of the sisters involved in wedding preparations assured us: ‘You’re the ones who get on with everyone and are the peacekeepers” – did she just side step the issue! The sisters placed at our table have been known to disrupt other family gatherings but it was hoped that the presence of their big brother at the table would help keep them in check.
I feel confident in assuming that some of you have stories of wedding disasters and dysfunction, caused by family infighting. With seven sisters vying for the top spot in a number of categories: most loved, most appreciated, most left out, forgotten most often, excluded from fun sister gatherings, things can get fairly heated.
Family gatherings are where we find out from what we’ve been excluded; discover who has been given something special from a parent – that special something that had been promised to another sister. Childhood hurts rise up, causing anger, frustration and more humiliation. And here we are meant to be celebrating the happy couple’s special day.
Sensibility says long-standing resentments and family differences should be attended to on neutral ground and one-to-one instead of in front of family members who are expected to take sides or referee. However, when the family gathers from far and wide these gatherings can be fraught with tension.
As the alcohol flowed more quickly the tongues loosened as did peoples’ grip on emotions. Fortunately as things started to warm up after the wedding meal we dispersed to the dance floor.
Have you ever been to a family gathering and had a similar experience?