Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday's Soapbox: Family Ties

Disclaimer: "Tuesday's Soapboxes" are not meant to be offensive-Comments I make are not directed at any one person or group, but are just my thoughts on whatever topic I choose for that particular Tuesday. The topics may range from serious in nature to just downright silly. As always, I appreciate hearing what you have to say about them, however, I am not here to start any 'debates'. Thanks for reading & I hope you enjoyed :)

Oh, that's right, it's back-at least for this week anyway :)

The holiday season is once again upon us & along with it comes the stress of all of the things that need to be done, all of the places to go & all of the people to see. And for me one of the worst parts of it all is the part where we are trying to share our time with all of our families at all of the festivities that will inevitably (most years anyway) conflict with each other...you can believe me when I say that I do truly start stressing out about this in October every single year.

The ultimate problem stems from the terms "extended family" & "immediate family."
These terms lead to questions such as:
"Who should come first?"
"What are the determining factors when trying to decide?"
"What happens if we go here instead of there?"
And on and on and on...

The basic jist of it all comes down to the basic statement that I have heard come out of several people's mouths (including that of my mother's in reference to how one of my sister's decides where to go when her events conflict) year after year..."Immediate family should come before extended family" & that is where it all gets tricky folks!

In our specific circumstance, it takes a little bit of traveling to visit any of my "immediate" family members & both of my "extended" families & Scott's "extended" family, thus we do not see many of these people nearly as often as we would like & so we feel it is very important to attend these functions when they occur. We see Scott's "immediate" family (who when they are all home for any of the holidays) are literally right next door & we see much of them for several days back-to-back-to-back. So, yes, I admit it-we do tend to put more of an emphasis on making sure we attend the other family Christmas events first if there is a conflict with Scott's "immediate" family Christmas event, mostly because we know that we will have many opportunities to see them over the course of a few days & therefore, feel like it could easily be the most flexible one scheduling-wise due to everyone being so close together in regards to location. This, of course, tends to cause a few problems from year to year & loads of guilt on our part because we are putting "extended" family before "immediate" family (i.e. remember the anxiety that begins in October :)

Anyway, the point of all of this is that it all got me to thinking more about it this year & I actually "thought something I hadn't thought before" (that's my own little take on the Grinch there ;)

What are these terms we all use to refer to each other & what do they really mean? The definitions please (taken from dictionary.com)...

Immediate family:
one's parents, step-parents, siblings, spouse, children, step-children, foster children, in-laws, sibling in-laws, grandparents, great grandparents, step-great grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews

Extended family:
1. a kinship group consisting of a family nucleus and various relatives, as grandparents, usually living in one household and functioning as a larger unit. Compare nuclear family.
2. (loosely) one's family conceived of as including aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and sometimes close friends and colleagues.

So, basically, our "immediate" family members are exactly the same as our "extended" family members, except for maybe 'cousins', but then aren't Luke's cousins (who would be considered his extended family) actually my nieces & nephew (which makes them my immediate family, but not his)...

CLEAR AS MUD, huh!!! :)

All I really can tell you that I know for sure is that each & every single one of our family members is very important to us no matter whether they are "immediate" or "extended", thus, it is very important to us that Luke get to know ALL of his family (immediate & extended!) Therefore, we will continue to do our very best to make that possible as long as all of these families continue to get together because in my humble opinion-family is family and they are all equally important to have around! :)

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