Thursday, March 20, 2008

It all makes sense now!

Child and I were talking this evening and something she said made several puzzle pieces fall into place. In short, she mentioned that the way her (extended) family shows another member of the (extended) family that they don't like them is by not Showing Up. For a graduation, birthday, wedding, family reunion, whatever. Absence = Dislike.

Not only did it make some of her family's behavior that I've observed make sense, it also explains why she was..."unhappy" about our wedding.

First, here are a few things about my family:
  1. My immediate family is large (I'm the second of 10 kids), and my extended family is more of the same.
  2. Even though no two of my mom's siblings live in the same state, there's always communication, ranging from family reunions to homeschooled kids being passed from family to family to casual spending the night on the way to somewhere else.
  3. My parents married off three of their kids (me, a brother, and a sister) in a five-month period--and with an extended family the size of ours, weddings, graduations, etc. happen with monotonous frequency.
  4. My relatives range geographically from Alaska to Arkansas.
As a result, it's not considered necessary, or even expected, for relatives to show up for every event. When you only have three kids (like my wife's parents), you might expect all the relatives to show up for each of their weddings, nicely spaced two years apart or whatever. When you have three weddings in five months (like my family), however, there's no way relatives can get time off work and collect from all corners of the U.S. to attend.

Thus, when Child and I were married, a few nearby aunts and uncles showed up to say hi and offer their congratulations, but that was about it. They didn't consider it a big deal, and neither did I.

Child, on the other hand, did. I think Child consciously understands that my relatives weren't trying to make some point by not attending, but I think her subconscious still equates their not Showing Up with an active dislike of her/us/whatever.


Anonymous said...

ha! ur wife = child? are you keeping her identity secret?

prin said...

Aw. I hate it when that happens. Sometimes we're so trained to see things a certain way and it's hard to overcome it even when we know what we're doing. :(