Each July, my small family convenes for a reunion – and I mean small – the total of my side of the family is 24 people. They are incredibly important to me. As almost none of us live in the same city, reunions are all the more meaningful.
Recently, this family reunion has taken on a different “feel” for my husband and me. As you know, I live in a multigenerational house – my parents live with me and my family. And my two kids, ages 5 and 7 “get” my parents all the time, for nearly the whole year. My five nieces and nephews only get my parents on special occasions and at these reunions.
See where I am going with this?
In each of these reunions, my kids have had to share their Honey and Gampy – not something they like doing at all! My husband and I are aware to this fact and remind our kids often that they need to let their cousins have more time with my parents. This goes over like a lead balloon….
Invariably, one of my kids will try to squirm into my mom’s lap when she is holding another grandchild, or curl up by my dad while he is watching a golf tournament with a cousin. This can create a not so pretty scene – my kids share toys, milk, sidewalk chalk, car seats, etc with very few glitches.
But when it comes to their Honey and Gampy – they are used to being the only game in town. Thank goodness my parents are amazing diplomats – they are as Even–Steven as you could imagine with their time and love.
And while these gatherings are loads of fun for everyone else, board games, drinking, lots of pool-time, the constant presence of “remember that time,” where no one is safe from my brothers’ elephant-like recall of the most agonizing childhood details, my husband and I usually work overtime at making sure our kids do not monopolize my parents.
We have another reunion coming up, and I can only hope that my kids will have more empathy for their cousins and share my parents with them. I love that my kids are so close to my parents, and in the end, I guess this is what a former boss of mine used to refer to as a “high-grade problem.”
I’ll know that we have crossed this particular bridge if I do not hear from my son, “but she is MINE!”