Do you any advice on how to gracefully get out of attending Family Reunions? Last summer I was guilted into going to five! It was miserable and in my opinion a complete waste of time. I’d say most of the people at the reunions didn’t even know me or my family. So, really what’s the point?
Signed, Not My Idea of a Good Time
Dear Not My Idea of a Good Time,
Reunions are a combination of an I.R.S. audit and being a contestant in a beauty pageant. You get a financial shake down by virtual strangers and your appearance is judged by people who still wear baby blue eye shadow. Not usually the stuff of great times. Sure, some families have their reunions at Disneyworld or the beach? You get their Christmas cards or see their Facebook posts with everyone decked out in white linen shirts (with just the slightest hint of a wrinkle) that shows off their sun-kissed skin with the sapphire blue rolling waves behind them as an ocean breeze gently tosses their hair. Unfortunately, most of us go to reunions held in musty fellowship halls or swamp adjacent mosquito enriched picnic areas.
My advice is that you put your family on a reunion rotation schedule. Go to one reunion a summer and be firm with your mother, grandma, and great aunts that that’s all you’ll be attending. Anyone can handle one reunion a year – right? It might not be a blast, but seeing your extended family is full of life lessons. For example, my husband’s family reunion serves as a scared straight program for my kids. They can see what the future holds when you give in to the pull of the dark side of your gene pool, barely graduate high school and think a toothpick is a fashion accessory.
So grab your bug spray, make your best covered dish recipe, and smile. You’re only doing this one time a year.
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