Saturday, February 27, 2010

Too Much Togetherness?

Is it possible? I think most of us would say, "Yes, at some point there IS such a thing as too much togetherness." Today we spent all day honoring and remembering Gboy's grandmother who passed away two years ago. There's a Buddhist tradition of doing a kind of memorial service and this was her 2nd annual. Last year it felt very fitting and appropriate. This year is mostly felt exhausting and like a chore that had to be done. Fewer of the extended relatives showed up. And the whole thing seemed sort of... obligatory.

Despite the fact that this day was about his own mother, my father-in-law spent the day (even while his whole family and guests were here) in his bedroom with the door shut watching horse racing. I know this because periodically he would emerge, betting sheet in hand, to use the computer to place another online bet. Meanwhile, my sister-in-law and her husband have been walking around like zombies because they arrived here very late last night and while they would have liked to nap, they couldn't because my father-in-law was in the room they'll be sleeping in for the next couple of days. My mother-in-law spent the day running around like a chicken with her head cut off, refusing all offers of help and trying to do everything herself.

By late this afternoon, Peanut, wound-up from all the excitement of having 7 or 8 of her cousins here to play with her all day, finally melted down from lack of food (too busy to be convinced to eat) and sheer exhaustion. As my husband took her out to the car in an attempt to drive her around in the quiet and comfort of a moving vehicle (a nice safe bet for lulling her to sleep) my father-in-law kept barking, "Why are you crying?! Why are you crying?!" as they walked by. I'm not sure what on earth his purpose was. He doesn't play with or really interact much with my daughter in general. So these barking interrogations tend only to scare her and generally she tells him to "go away" if he talks to her. He certainly didn't plan to offer any assistance or help in calming her down, and in all likelihood he just escalated her anxiety.

*sigh* I'm sure I'm sensitive about all of this because I too am tired (my mother and father-in-law were up for hours last night walking around the house repeatedly slamming doors in anticipation of their daughter's arrival). As a result, Gboy and I didn't manage to get any decent sleep until well after 1am and we're tired too.

It's like so many holidays in the U.S. I guess. Everyone is so excited to get together but it takes so much work and then once you're all crammed together in one small space, suddenly things aren't as ideal as you dreamed they'd be!!


  1. We have the 23rd (maybe? - 20 something anyway) of hub's grandmothers passing and the 50th (last one) of hub's sister who died when she was just a baby - coming up next month. Granny K reckons about ten rellies will turn up, eat elaborate bentos, pray, smoke, drink, give us money and then leave with bags of washing powder and towels.

    I am assured I won't have to do anything but considering the woman doesn't clean I am thinking I will be on the list for doing some of that both beforehand and afterwards. Also need to be on ciggie patrol to make sure no'one smokes in MY house. :)

  2. So, the memorial thing -- they do that every year for every deceased relative? That seems like a lot of togetherness. Do they celebrate birthdays, too? It's fun to learn about other cultures, and it's amazing how little I know.