Friday, November 16, 2012

Family functions and time

The table is large and round and the guest are seated closely together, they prod at their meals nervously with chopsticks looking at the contents wondering if they have eaten them before.
The host laughs loudly and they all sort of  laugh, they seem to know each other but at the same time it's just a little uncomfortable.
The owner of the restaurant chuckles when I ask him about the table. It seems it's the hosts birthday and they come here each year. This casts me back to our family functions. We did something very similar - Always went to the same Chinese restaurant for birthdays, mothers day and fathers day.

It really became like a ritual. A big table for the adults and a little table for the kids. Sometimes good conversations and sometimes it all got a bit difficult.

The other holidays were shared around, everyone took it in turns to have Christmas day lunch / dinner and we all would traipse off to our relatives house to spend the day hanging out and catching up. The cooking was mainly done by the host family but everyone pitched in bringing something.

There would be the obligatory cricket match on the road, interrupted by the yell of " Car" to which the stumps would come of with the rest of the kids on to the nature strip until the car had passed and the game could resume.

Lunch would be served and cleared leaving the parents to lapse into afternoon naps or sometimes discussions over a further bottle of wine. The house would then spring back in to life after 5pm and another meal of cold meats and salads would be served along with presents (and more wine). Everyone would leave vowing to catch up " more than just at Christmas".

Gradually I noticed less family showing up as the kids got older. Boyfriends and Girlfriends came along engagements and weddings happened and the dreaded  "split day"  discussion would be raised.

This involved both sides of the relationship agreeing on where they would go for the day time meal and the night time meal.

That being said. You absolutely can not invoke Social commitment remorse for any family function. It's not allowed. Family functions in my house were compulsory -  everybody showed up.

We teach both our kids the same. You plan out the day/event like you're invading another country - take plenty of supplies and be prepared for absolutely anything.

I'll still never forget showing up for a lunch (Sunday) and the meal consisted of a roast chicken, potatoes and peas.

For 6 adults and two children. Talk about portion control.

image courtesy of

And The Beloved and I once went to a wedding way up in the Yarra Valley and then after the ceremony drove two hours back to get to a 40th Birthday of a cousin.

In the same day.

Thank goodness I don't drive.

But what ever the case you attend, pay homage and leave. (After an appropriately waited time) and if you're there too long - Don't worry there is always one relative trying to wrap the party up and shoo you out by cleaning up and trying to finish off every one's conversations.

Recently parties have become a little more broader and started to include past friends. I would say mainly because the milestones are getting bigger - 40th, 50th and even 70th's have started to pop up.

 I do so love people re introducing themselves to me as if I am some sort of altizimers patient - " I'm <insert name>, and when you were little " <insert hand / height gesture here> " I would ...."

I know who you are. You were the Mum who I one day hoped to marry someone just like you or the person who treated me like an adult when everyone else would see me as a child.

You were the Dad that hosted sleepovers and lied to the neighbours that the boys would never do something as stupid as throw wads of burning newspaper over their fence.

So I smile and chat, with all the memories flooding back and hope that this many people will show up when I hit these milestones. Because these are/will be the people that have and will have shaped who I am

And I want them to know that that means a lot.

But I'll tell you one thing for sure - you will get a decent feed.