Trials and Tribulations of an Extended Family

(For reference, please see the Photo Album titled, “Family Timeline.” Trust me, you’ll need it for this blog.)

Being an adopted kid in a family that has gone through 3 divorces isn’t easy. The few friends I have that are “glass is half-full” types would say that it’s a blessing having a big family. I mean, after all there are more people to love you right? Ah ha! Not so fast my family-friendly reader.

Now, my wife comes from a family of seven kids and they are all pretty great folks, and I can see where someone from THAT situation would think a big family is a good thing. But from my experience, I’d have to disagree.

Despite the over-abundance of gifts at Christmas and birthdays, which wasn’t a problem until we had kids and had to start finding places to put toys that rarely get used, there are tremendous downsides to having a large family. Let me explain:

Just normally throughout the year:
My wife and I both work, so we like our evenings and weekends. Now, most people only have to contend with one additional set of relatives wanting to come visit. Not so with the “extended dysfunctional family.” We have three sets of parental-types, and to make it even more fun, we have to juggle who comes when due to, um, let’s call them “strained” relationships.
Vacations. My wife gets a month off each year and I get three weeks. I typically save a week for “me” time, to do stuff around the house that has been piling up. When you have so much family, inevitably someone gets upset when you don’t come visit.

Do you and your spouse switch which family you go see during the holidays? Suck it up! Ours is worse.

During special occurrences, such as a new baby:

  • It’s impossible to tell one person (or couple) that they can come stay at your house without ticking off the others.
  • Juggling visitation times at the hospital (this is applicable for all events)
  • Who can come to birthday parties for the grandkids? If they would all just be adults and play nicely, it’d be one thing. But they can’t/won’t.

Personally, I think I trump most people and their family problems; but not all. My small problem now, is that everyone has seen the new baby (Aiden) except my first adopted mom. See, I don’t particularly care for her. In fact, if I never saw her again, I think I’d be OK. But I feel this little bit of “thank you for adopting me” responsibility. I mean, after all, were if not for her maternal instinct (what little there ever was to begin with), I might have grown up in “the system.” So, I feel a little responsible. And to be fair, we’ve tried to schedule her a time to come by twice and something else has come up on her end both times. Now, she’s called like three times and I’m hesitant to call her back. I know I should, but I just don’t want to!

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