Sunday, December 27, 2009

10 pins and 4 generations

The bowling party was a lot of fun.  I was reminded that we have been doing this for 8 years (not the six I thought) having started on Marc’s 50th birthday.  Now however, there are more birthdays than just Marc’s.  A cousin’s daughter was six today and a brother’s new wife (as opposed to the ex-wife) has her birthday tomorrow.

There were 34 related people there.  35 in total.  These are the generations and how they are related to Marc.

Generation 1:  Marc’s mother and father, divorced for 45 years (and yes the father that has disowned us, we’ve all gotten very good at not seeing each other over the years at these gatherings); an aunt and uncle.  (4)

Generation 2:  Marc and 4 of his seven siblings (one is deceased) and two spouses, 3 first cousins and two spouses.  (12)

Generation 3:  Two children and one spouse, one nephew and three nieces, 5 first cousins once removed.  (12)

Generation 4:  4 grandchildren.  (4)

Throw in an ex-spouse of a different first cousin and her grandson as well as a boyfriend of an attendee (3) and it was one big group.  If you divide it up by over 40 and under 40 the ratio would be 18/17.  If you changed the ratio to over 20 and under 20 the ratio would be 25/10.  Age range...6 - 84.

Marc actually has 16 first cousins (all but three on his mother’s side) and they all had a bunch of kids and now those kids are having kids and you can see how overwhelming it can be, especially for new spouses.  Like I was once.  Me who has only 2 siblings and one single first cousin and he did not reproduce.  Even the blood relatives have trouble with all the names and ways of relatedness when the extended family gets together as it does for the big life cycle events (bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings are the big draws, funerals too, guess).

Only one minor outbreak of drama involving his mother and father.  She wanted him to wish their son ‘happy birthday’ and as he has always done, the more some part of the family presses him to relent, the more stubborn he becomes.  It’s rather sad really.  He is an old man in poor health.  We have long ago come to terms with the situation, prefer it even, we don’t want the family to try and intervene on our behalf.  It is, after all, his loss.   That did not, however, stop his mom.  There was no yelling, Marc extricated himself from her grasp and the whole thing devolved into silent weeping.  First his father, then his mother and then she got mad and had one of her grandchildren drive her home.  God/dess, please spare me from becoming an angry and bitter old lady.

We did not however, make it to the movie.  Left in plenty of time but we had never been to this theater before, didn’t know exactly where it was and got lost in the parking lot of a huge ‘mall’.  I’ve never really been into shopping but exactly when did a mall go from being one big building to a bunch of buildings scattered amongst acres and acres of parking lot?  And the traffic in the parking lot was worse than rush hour.  By the time we found the theater complex, we had fifteen minutes to park, buy our tickets and get seats.  It took just one glance at each other before we were on the highway again.  

We’ll try tomorrow.


  1. Even with the moments of conflict and sadness, having such richness of close family near at hand is wonderful. Most of mine are too far away, and I recognize it most keenly at holiday times. A phone call with the phone passed around doesn't cut it. May your life continue to be richly blessed with this community of kin.

  2. How do you keep everyone straight? And yes, some spats will always happen, under all roofs.

  3. i think the drama is to be expected at Christmas...all in all though it sounds like a fun time was had. Love the bowling pin (is that what it's called??!!)

  4. It's funny how we can move on - put enough years after something and it becomes not important anymore. You're right - it's his father's loss.

  5. Those mall parking lots are feng shui nightmares. I don't believe there's any movie so good that you should have to navigate a mall maze in order to see.

    The party sounds like a BLAST, head-banging and all. It's inevitable, but at least if you're bowling, everyone has something they can throw the ball at.

    Great tradition, and I love how you include many generations and ex's, etc. You are so cool, Ellen!

  6. I love bowling! I am absolutely terrible at it, but I think it's great fun. I'm glad you had a good time - and of course a family gathering wouldn't be real without some drama. We certainly had our share this weekend (Dr. M's dad & brother are having a war & we're caught in the middle).

  7. I love bowling, though I don't go often.

  8. Gotta love those family dynamics. ::sigh::

    I'm an only child, so I can't even imagine these huge families. Wow!


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