Some Observations From Large Family Gatherings

This has been a wonderful week of being with many kinds of family members. There are siblings, parents, in-laws, out-laws, first cousins, second cousins, first cousins once removed, second cousins once removed, third cousins and even foreign exchange students and of course pets. We have had a number of EVERYONE all together events and meals. We have had large and small gatherings on the beach or at a pool. We even had fourteen for one table at a dinner out.

Here are some observations from the week and we are only half way done. Not everyone likes the same food and some are not afraid to tell you. Some will come to any meal they are invited to and it never dawns on them to contribute. Some will contribute way more than their share and do it quietly. No matter what, there is always too much food. No one goes hungry and there are even leftover from meals that were made up from leftovers.

Not everyone knows how to put their glass in the dishwasher. There is almost always one person who does the majority of the cleaning out the dishwasher. If you ask someone who you are not a close relative to get up and clean out the dishwasher they will do it.

If everyone stops talking when you walk in the room it is a bad sign. If it happens twice within fifteen minutes you might want to skip the next reunion.

You should really pay attention when someone is telling you a story. If you are not, saying “Isn’t that wonderful,” to a pause in the story might alert the story teller that you were not paying attention to the story about the excruciating pain they were enduring.

It is probably not a good idea to comment on another person’s parenting style, especially if you are not a parent. Everyone should be given the benefit of consideration that this might not be their child’s best day.

If you are invited to participate in an activity you don’t have to, but letting people know before hand gets you lots of points. If you really want points get up and pour people more wine. You get double points for clearing the table and triple for cleaning the kitchen.

In-laws are allowed to slip out of the room and leave a group. Family members must hug and say goodbye before they go.

Rather than speculating about how someone is, ask them about it. Everyone is happy to talk about themselves.

Sharing what is a joy to you is often a joy to others. Listening is the most important thing you can do.

Remember, these are the people who are most likely to show up at your funeral, make sure they have wonderful stories and happy memories to share about you.

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