The last of the family left yesterday. This visit was not as traumatic, mainly because I decided it wouldn't be. It may have been harder on other people, I really don't know. I just know I kept myself out of the line of fire, and resigned as keeper of everyone's good feelings, not in an ugly way (I hope).
Does this ring true for anyone else? As a child, I just wanted everyone to be happy and get along, and anyone being upset also upset me. As an adult, I know now that that was not altruism, but the childish desire for everything to be ok. Family gatherings pull me back to that childish state, because the vision of perfection must be preserved at all times. But unreality is pretty much a waste of time, and probably harmful.
That's just me-I'm a tangible kind of girl for serious things-I like abstract for fun.
So, this time I grilled and cooked a lot. I got more family approval than I have ever received before, because I finally gave them something they could want and understand-burgers and steak. It's important to always be aware of your audience.
It didn't stop the "why" questions, but it kept them back considerably. That's the other reality, I am as much a mystery to my own family as I am to myself. But I'm learning, with them, to say "this is just how it is, let's move on."