The Blessing of Extended Family

Thanksgiving was delightful; we had my husband’s mother, his aunt, one of his brothers and sister-in-law, and my father over.

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The family gathers (that’s me in the grey dress with one of our daughters laying against me).

We just sat by the fire chatting and enjoying each other’s company. Oh, and we ate a massive feast, too, which I didn’t get any pictures of, but Philip took a few pictures of the pretty table my mother-in-law and I set:

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I had a surprisingly stress-free holiday despite all the cooking and cleaning I did, probably because my mother-in-law came over and spent the night on Wednesday and we stayed up late drinking wine and preparing food, but also because I remember reading some commentary from Vox Day last year that really put holiday preparations into perspective. Vox reposted it this year, so I’m quoting it here:

If you are a man:

  • Remember that the women are putting in a lot of work and are feeling a lot of stress. This is not the time to remember things at the last minute or lament how things were done differently when you were a child. Avoid throwing curve balls.
  •  Don’t tell her to relax. She’s not going to do so anymore than you are during a hard-fought basketball game. Holiday-hosting can perhaps be best understood as a competitive sport for women, even if the only competitors are in her mind.
  •  Ask her if there is anything you can do twice per day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Simply having someone willing to run out to the store once or twice, if necessary, can save her considerable time and reduce tensions.
  •  Pour yourself a glass of wine as soon as it gets dark. Offer her one. She’ll probably need it.
  •  Don’t let her get away with snapping at you or anyone else. The objective is to be helpful and considerate, not a doormat.

If you are a woman:

  • Try to remember that it’s a celebration, not a competition, and the world will not end if a particular dish is not served or something doesn’t go exactly the way you planned it.
  • The only person who can ruin the holiday for yourself is you. In fact, the only person who is likely to ruin the holiday for everyone else is you. Don’t be that woman.
  • If someone is taking pictures or video, just smile. Drawing additional attention to yourself by complaining and protesting looks far more ridiculous than any bedhead or lack of makeup does.

My father called me today to tell me what a nice time he’d had, and it made me start thinking about how much better I feel when our extended family is all together. Sure, we don’t see eye to eye on some things and sometimes we irk or annoy each other, but one of the great lies of modernistic liberalism is that blood is no thicker than water. The truth is that no one has your back like your family does; friends come and go, but the people you share kinship with are (or should be) your foundation and fortress. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to let the petty crap go and focus on how grateful I am for family, both nuclear and extended, especially extended.

On yesterday’s post, Mrs. Minter remarked:

You know, I got a little bit of confusion from co-workers this week when I declined to celebrate Thanksgiving with them in the form of a pot luck. I like my co-workers, but I simply am tired of celebrating holidays with people other than my own family on days other than the actual holiday. Was I being a grump? I guess. But, I am now having a fantastic vacation at home with the people I am meant to spend it with- with the extra energy I didn’t spend elsewhere. I know my family appreciates it.

I completely get where she’s coming from.

If you didn’t get to see your family this Thanksgiving, make sure to see them at Christmas. And if you can move closer to be with them, do it.

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8 thoughts on “The Blessing of Extended Family

  1. “one of the great lies of modernistic liberalism is that blood is no thicker than water”

    I have a lot of thoughts on this one. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to ensure a daughter’s happy marriage is for her parents to pay for her betrothed’s college education.

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  2. That is really interesting to think about, Kate.

    Because of Military life, we’ve grown used to our own Thanksgiving tradition. Our doors are always open to extended family but we won’t go anywhere else. Our son’s 18th birthday was on Saturday so we did get to enjoy extended family then. We have the best time with them. When comparing our enjoyment with family to the times we spent with military friends who were away from their homes, no doubt about it, time spent with blood is so much better than with friends.

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    • Sarah’s Daughter: If you will, help me think this through. If we don’t want our daughters to be career women, but we want them to have a certain standard of living, would it really be that strange to invest in her husband’s education rather than her own? Or to put his first and hers second until after they’ve had children?

      From all that I’ve read from the men in the Manosphere, very few of them (the actual non-monogamous types) would not leap at the chance to marry a virginal, debt free, young and pleasant wife. Add in a dowry of the school fund, and it would seem hard to pass up. I don’t like to think of it as “buying a spouse,” but more of a long term strategy for the couple’s mutual happiness.

      Now, “arranged marriage” has a pejorative connotation. So, I’m going to use the phrase “guided marriage” to mean both sets of parents are involved, actually invested, in the couple’s future. I suppose it would involve some kind of contract and many things could go wrong along the way, but the idea of a young man going to college knowing that his pleasant bride is awaiting him at his graduation seems like pretty good motivation to make the Dean’s List 🙂

      I feel a little Machiavellian (or at least like Mrs. Bennett) in feeling its necessary to have such a strong hand in my daughter’s choices, but I just don’t believe in leaving young ladies to fend for themselves in this area. What could be more important to prepare for? What?

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  3. I agree with you completely on guiding our daughters and having a strong hand in their choices. I talked with my husband about this last night. Part of the planning that went into purchasing the house that we have was with our children in mind. The house came with an additional one bedroom apartment that will be available to any of our children and their spouses as a fall back. The understanding will be that they’ll need to provide labor toward the homestead. We also have gardens that will be available to them to grow food and hunting land. My husband likes the idea of providing the basics (shelter, food, water, heat) while our son/sons-in-law pursue their trade/profession. I asked him if he’d consider paying for their college. He said he’ll pay for them to get schooling and licensing in a trade (welding, plumbing, mechanic etc) so that they’ll always be able to work. From there they can decide for themselves if they want to pursue a four year degree and pay for it out of their hard work thus perhaps valuing it more and staying committed to it. So, we’re on a similar page.

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  4. Pingback: Know that you are happy. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

  5. Pingback: “You can do what you want”: transplantism instead of tradition and friends instead of family. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

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