Family reunions, don’t you just hate them sometimes?
I usually enjoy family reunions, seeing all the cousins and family again, sharing stories, and hugs; it always makes you feel good.
Being Lebanese you get used to having a big family, with many cousins, and considering your extended family as part of your close cousins. But being Lebanese also means that most of them don’t live in Lebanon anymore, most travelled to other countries for studies, work, and sometimes for providing a safe-r- environment for their children.
I love family reunions! I’m aware that I just contradicted myself, but I honestly think that there is no way I’ll be able to specify which emotions override the others when it comes to family reunions.
I love seeing my cousins and sharing our different stories, going to parties and crashing at pubs; now yo u won’t know exactly what I’m talking about unless I give you an overview of my family: family = a bunch of extremely different people, many generation gaps, some religious some not, most of them party animals (the kind you’re sometimes ashamed of being seen with publicly, unless you are included in the party animals group). Family = single cousins, married cousins, married with kids cousins, gay cousins, open cousins, and conformist cousins. Family = having all the generations I none area, from the grandparents, to parents, to my generation, to the cousin’s kids’ generation. It is altogether a society of difference living under one family name.
Meet my family! (and good luck with that)
During family reunions you always have different repetitive scenarios: (one way conversations with what I sometimes feel like answering):
1- The older generation: “oh my god how much you’ve grown!” (thanks); did you get into college?!” (you were at my graduation 2 years ago); “how’s work?” “did you get a job? How’s work?” (the usual, it’s work); “you gained a lot of weight! You should start regime/gym” (have you seen yourself?); when will you get married? (oh god why?!!?!); I want you to meet my grandson’s friend, he would be a perfect husband!” (kill me now, please); “why aren’t you eating more? Eat! Eat! If you’re not healthy no one will want you” (didn’t you just say I gained weight?)
2- The uncles and aunts: when will you get married? (oh god why?!!?!); I want you to meet my son’s friend, he would be a perfect husband!” (kill me now, please); “yalla yalla, hurry up we want to see your kids grow, start making babies” (don’t I need to get married first?); how’s the boyfriend/girlfriend? When will we meet him/her?” (why? To scare her/him off or to judge me more?)
3- The cousins: “yooo, let’s get wasted soon!” (okay); “man I got so wasted last night!” (same here); “dude let’s have coffee sometime and catch up” ; “let’s go partay!”; “did you see cousin X’s new look?”; “guess what happened”; etc.
Now the first scenario is the most annoying, being judged by elder generation is the worst family reunions; it’s an endless one way conversation of complaints about what you’re doing, how you look, where you are in your life, and what you’re planning for the future. Though at the same time I enjoy seeing them all, it’s a connection I never want to sever, whatever the risks.
The second scenario is somewhat fun, but also annoying most of the time, they are the ones that believe they have the right to judge you since their kids are your age, but they are doing much better (at least in their opinion) and expect you to be just like them, act one way around family but do whatever you want when with friends (sorry I prefer to stay the same, which sometimes got me the wrath from some uncles and aunts). Some of them are also fun since you’re now old enough to hang with them, listen to their stories, and share a drink. Watching them get wasted is fun too.
The last/third scenario is usually the most interesting one, getting fresh new stories of fu**-ups, random stuff, interesting reads, and of course a good dose of the family gossips. Unfortunately some of these cousins already have kids, so you’ll have to play baby sitter at times as well.
At the end of the day, I can’t help but love them all, even though I hate them most of the time (hate is not the opposite of love, it’s loathing, so they’re safe for now). But dear family, if you are reading this, you should know I still care, cause you’re the only ones that will never let me down.
Cheers to all families around the world.