Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Putting the Fun in Dysfunctional

So for Thanksgiving being the first major blended family get-together, I have to give thanks for how smoothly it went.

Seriously, we were practically the freakin’ Brady Bunch. That is if the Brady Bunch consumed copious amounts of narcotics and alcohol.

For about the past 10 years, I’ve always taken the girls back to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving. Even when I was married to The Ex, he maybe only joined us on one occasion, due to his work/gambling schedule, so we had a pretty set routine: Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house or my brother and sister-in-laws, a movie Thanksgiving evening, up on Black Friday (not crazy early, though) for breakfast and shopping with The Big One, and catching up with my school friends who happened to be in town that year. I had some concerns about disrupting this routine, since The Husband’s HUGE family has a big get-together every year, and I wanted them to participate in that, but knew it would be kind of a drag for them. The Husband had even voiced his concern, since he has personal experience in attending the step-family events, and wanted to be sure they were comfortable with the idea.

We compromised by agreeing to have lunch at my brother and sister-in-law’s place (M & M), and dessert at The Husband’s family gathering. According to The Husband, the food usually sucked at these gatherings, and M & M can cook up a storm, so it was really a win-win compromise.

So lunch at M & M’s was great. We got to see the Baby Cousins, Thing One, Thing Two and Surprise, and M’s brother and sister. The food, of course, was amazing as M & M always do a fantastic spread. We were entertained by all the Baby Cousins, especially when Surprise down-dog crawled over to the refrigerator, opened it, and pulled out a bottle of wine.

And at only 17 months of age! My kind of girl.

We hefted ourselves over to the in-laws and ate some more and got to know the fam. The Husband’s father comes from a family of about 5 or 6 kids (sorry, I can’t keep EVERYONE inventoried) and I was close to one of his uncles and his wife when I was in high school. The last time I saw them was on my 25th birthday, so it had been a couple of decades and change since then. When I mentioned that my 25th birthday was the last time I’d seen him, Uncle C said, “So it’s only been three weeks?”

I heart Uncle C.

Back then, they had a two year old who is no longer two, who I have gotten to know through FaceBook, and was really looking forward to meeting her, her sister and one particular cousin.

I was not disappointed in any way. These girls are the shit.

I would like to say they reminded me of me when I was their age, but no way was I ever as cool. They are the cool girls I wanted to be.

Anyway, I had a great time talking and getting to know everyone. There were maybe 25-30 people there, and I missed out on some introductions, but it will probably take me years to sort everyone out anyway. Another one of the out-laws, who’s been married to this family for 25+ years, said it took her at least 5 years to get everyone straight. And she lives in a much closer proximity than I.

The Girls did okay with the new in-laws. The Big One found a friend in one of Cool Cousin T’s daughter, who’s a couple of years younger and played with CCT’s three-year old. The Little One was feeling especially contrary, so she mostly sulked. I told her, “Next time, bring a book.” I know this was an intimidating situation, but she wasn’t even trying. I think she acts that way, just to get my attention.

After the grown-ups left, the host decided to have a cousin party. I don’t know when I was moved into the “grown-ups” category, as no one informed me, but The Husband and I were granted a reprieve, since we were borderline.

There is a reason I don’t party like I did when I was in my twenties: I am no longer in my twenties.

Anyway, it was fun just watching everyone cut loose. And I suppose there had to be one sober person there, just in case. Never thought I’d live to see the day where that person would be me. I used to be on the guest list at the Starck Club, dammit. But I digress.

We spent the rest of the weekend keeping to our usual Thanksgiving weekend activities: shopping, eating and meeting up with old friends from school. I spent way too much and ate way too much (see post below) but had a pretty stress free weekend.

The following weekend The Husband went to his much-anticipated Civil War re-enactment with BFF’s Husband. Since The Ex has gone from seeing the girls every day after school to about once a month, and was able to come visit that weekend. And since The Ex has to beg, borrow or steal lodging, it was decided he'd crash on the downstairs sofa.

Can you say "awkward"?

Actually, it wasn't the first time we've done this, just the first time The Husband would be gone. But I figure I'll take the high road, because it really is important that the girls spend time with their dad. Well, at least for The Little One, as The Big One has a social calendar even Paris Hilton would envy, and was gone most of the weekend. He did take them shopping and ice skating, so YAY for Quality Time.

So we all survived the first blended family holiday, and everyone came out okay on the other end. I met some new friends, got some great gifts and ate until I was fat enough to bake.

It could have been worse.

1 comment:

The Terror! said...

Nobody ever called me cool. Thanks for making me cry. Meeting you again, since I was not old enough to remember the first time, was completly awesome. You and "The husband" seem like two halves of a whole. And those kids of yours are awesome. I REALLY cant wait to do it again. xoxo