Friday, April 5, 2013

The Super Extended

Although I'm not religious in the traditional sense I still subscribe to some customs that have a religious basis, like sharing a meal with extended family on Easter Sunday. I'll even join in the dinner prayer and bow my head out of respect for the elders for whom Easter is very meaningful. I've learned that part of marriage and most long-term relationships is getting comfortable with your partner's family until eventually you don't differentiate them from your own side of the family- everyone is simply family. To make that transition run smoothly is helps to respect everyone's beliefs even if they differ from your own, especially when it comes to religion and politics (unless there's racism and sexism involved, I tend to hold my tongue). Some things are not worth arguing about when it comes to family and if you can't hold it in just wait to bring it up on Facebook instead of over dinner. The logic is that if you respect the thoughts of your extended family members then they, in turn, will respect yours and family reunions will always be a pleasure.

Chris was born and raised in San Diego, which means he has a lot of family here, which means now I have a lot of family here, which means we see them fairly often. It really helps our relationship to make sure we all get along, regardless of our stance on gun rights or teacher unions. When everyone is kind and respectful twenty family members together in one place isn't as daunting, it can even be considered fun.

And that's exactly how it was (and how it should be) last weekend, when the super extended family came from different parts of the country to convene at the Allmen Ranch for Easter Sunday.

From the youngest to the eldest, all hanging out in harmony, bellies full and happy.

I'm grateful for living in a time when keeping in touch with the extended clan is much easier than it used to be, a time when the definition of family is fluid but the familial bond remains the same. A bond that may not always be related in blood but builds with words and actions and becomes just as strong.

And I'm lucky to have a super extended family that knows how to relax and unwind, a family that likes to stop and smell the roses.

So cheers to the twenty-first century family! Cheers to the unconventional! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to tell Chris to smile more. Otherwise, great post. I hope readers take away how important the notion of mutual respect is to everyone regardless of how seemingly wrong an opinion may be. Good stuff.