Before everything went down with my family, we had a wonderful five day escape to Idaho for my husband’s family reunion.
If I’m honest I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I had only really met my mother and father in law and my husband’s siblings. I’m an introvert. A house with a bus-load of strangers (and the added pressure of getting along with everyone) was a tad bit terrifying to me.
And overwhelming. Not just to me, but for my son Caleb as well. Caleb has ADHD/ODD and is by no means a social butterfly either.
I was worried about drama, because these things are inevitable in large families.
I was worried about seeing my husband’s birth mom and adoptive mom in the same house for two days straight.
I was worried because I didn’t personally know all the men that would be there. And with the statistics being that 1 in 4 children are sexually abused by a relative or someone they perceive to be a close friend/authority figure, I think a small amount of anxiety is healthy in this regard. Momma bear instincts and all.
I was worried because I don’t do crying. Which is also inevitable at family reunions.
But as much as all these stressors were very clear to my husband, I also knew that I had to be the right example for my children. I HAD to be joyful, excited, and at peace about meeting more family because it would affect how my children reacted to this experience. This was important to my husband. So I put on my big girl panties and my smile and off we went.
The reality is: What worries a person who struggles with anxiety like me are often scenarios imagined (chronically) in our head that more often than not, never happen. We make big “what if” monsters entirely out of our imagination.
The truth is, none of the things I worried about held any ground. At all. The most I had to worry about was what did I want on my french toast for breakfast one morning.
It was soul-refreshing and wonderful.
There was plenty of sunlight and fresh air.
There was games, conversation, and laughter.
There was worship. And of course, where there is worship with the Hass family there’s me singing off-key.
There were pictures and family trees and genealogy building.
There was geocaching!
There was late nights talking or playing skip-bo. And of course, there was a game of Catan!
There were “new family” – people who like me, married into this family and didn’t really know everyone either.
And my kids had a blast. To the point where they didn’t want to leave and said they’d miss their cousins!
I was a little bit “socialized-out” and took some naps to help cope with the insane amount of noise and activity. But it was nothing a Tylenol couldn’t handle and I got back in the game as soon as I felt better.
All of this to say, my husband’s family is doing it right. Have the family reunions when people are alive and well! Don’t wait for funerals to bring family together! Looking back after my own experience with my mom’s passing, I’m so thankful to have spent time with everyone and have all these wonderful pictures that my kids can look back on and remember.
Specially if everyone lives in one country and aren’t separated by political asylum visas and dictatorships.