Sunday, September 12, 2004

A Family Reunion, part II

It's awfully quiet around here lately.

First, let me say that Paul and I come from similar families with similar values. This was apparent when we were still just e-flirting, before we ever went on a date or spent the night together (and since this was college, the order of those two events is frequently interchangeable). At the Thanksgiving before my January first date with Paul, my dad asked me if I was dating anyone at school and I told him that there was this guy . . . but I didn't know if he was interested . . . and I wasn't sure it was what I wanted right then since it was going to be impossible for us to ever date casually. I was right; we were practically married from our first date on.

Anyway, despite the similarities in our families and in our upbringing, there are so many ways that our families are different, and those are more fun to ponder. Don't get me wrong, I love it that our parents are good enough friends that they will travel across the country to visit each other. But there are a lot of ways they are just not the same.

The weekend before my mother's family reunion (below) Paul, Ellie, and I traveled to Iowa for his mother's family reunion. Two August family reunions in the Midwest, could they have been any more different?

At my family reunion, we grocery shopped and prepared all of our own food because fast food and chain restaurants are just not an option.

At Paul's family reunion we ate at Applebee's every day because people liked it so much.

My uncle was nearly apoplectic when my 26-year-old cousin had a beer with dinner rather than wine.

Paul's cousin only had beer at his recent wedding because "[he doesn't] know anyone who drinks that fancy-pants stuff."

In Wisconsin we spent hours discussing politics, religion, current events, and processing interactions and events from 40 years ago.

In Iowa we didn't discuss any of those things. We talked about marriage and babies and logistics for the next time we'll all get together. Eventually we had to address the elephant in the middle of the living room – a horrible situation that's been going on for a couple of years involving one sister embezzling all of their parents money and putting "the folks" in a nursing home, possibly prematurely. Finally it became impossible to ignore.

It's really interesting for me to observe (and participate in!) both families and see the way the familial differences play out between Paul and me in our own relationship.

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