I am trying to psyche myself up for a weekend of Father’s Day celebrations. What I want to do is take my husband and our sons on an escape to somewhere cool (seriously, these 102 degree heat indexes are insane!). My poor hubby has been dealing with so much stress lately—I can’t tell you how much I wish our budget would cover a nice vacation for him. He’s a great dad and has earned a reward for all his troubles. But what we’ll be doing instead is hosting two days of back-to-back Father’s Day dinners here at my house; one celebration with my dad, the other with my father-in-law.
Please understand that I have no aversion to honoring our parents. We’re supposed to do that; as I often remind my own children, it’s the only one of the Ten Commandments that comes with a promise of long life. My dad has always been awesome to us, and I wish I could do more than just throw dinner on the grill and bake him a cake. He’s always grateful for even the smallest gestures, and I appreciate that about him.
What’s frustrating me are others in the extended family who aren’t happy unless they’re creating some kind of drama surrounding events like this. And drama is the last thing I need.
Y’all, I am six months pregnant. It is hot as Hades already, I am cooped up at home all day with the boys (one of whom is still mending from a knee injury) because we only have one vehicle at the moment. Like so many other young families, we’re experiencing financial stress that is compounded by a broken-down car and all the copayments this high-risk pregnancy is requiring. I have been to the doctor four—no, five—times in the past two weeks. Add in my raging hormones and I’m pretty crabby even on a good day.
I don’t feel like being Martha Stewart, but I’m trying. And because of that, I certainly don’t deserve to get attitude from grown adults who want to criticize anything that isn’t done their way.
They’re the parade-rainers, the Grinches, the flies in the frosting that can ruin a perfectly nice day. And I am scared that as fed-up as I’ve felt lately, if they cross those lines when they’re actually here, I might just go off. There are bound to be, as there usually are, insults veiled as compliments, prying questions and tight lips when we leave them unanswered. And it shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t.
I don’t want to feel like I’m serving up a portion of resentment to those relatives this weekend. But at the moment, that’s exactly what I feel. Because this weekend isn’t just about our parents, a fact that only I seem to have remembered. It’s also about my husband, my children’s father, and the desire in my heart to do what is best for him, for my little family and our sanity.
But, as has been the pattern over the past two years, life has felt like nothing but a continual demand for our time, our resources, our souls to be dedicated to meeting the needs and expectations of extended family members—on both sides of the family tree.
And oh, it’s getting OLD.