Family: the people you are stuck with. You love them, but oh do they drive you crazy.
This time of year is full of family gatherings. People flock from near and far to be together. Sometimes this is a good thing. There’s nothing better than a long conversation with a beloved cousin, aunt, or grandparent whom you haven’t seen in a long time.
But then there’s the other side of the coin.
This afternoon, my parents, brothers, and I are making the trek down to the cities to gather with my Dad’s side of the family. Every year, it’s a dreaded event. You see, all my aunts, uncles, and cousins lived near each other when we were young. The cousins are all close friends and still hang out all the time. All the other parts of the family have lots of money, working white-collar jobs and traveling all over whenever they want. One aunt spent five years working in Paris just because she could.
To say my family doesn’t fit in is an understatement. We have always been treated like the weirdos who live out in the boonies. We live on a farm, go to church, and don’t run after money like it is the most important thing in the world. It’s stupid because we only live an hour away and are just as smart as them. But, for whatever reason, we have always been treated like we are different.
I dread these gatherings. I always feel so awkward around my Barbie doll cousins with their corporate jobs and pretty little pencil skirts. They didn’t even talk to me until I was sixteen. They were the popular girls. I was the shy girl with her head in a book.
Last year, every single cousin brought their significant other. They all sat in couples, talking and flirting and laughing while my brother and I sat alone. I don’t mind being single, but boy. That was awkward.
I used to try really hard to fit in with all of them. After all, they are my family. But now, I’ve given up caring. Christmas gatherings are something to grin and bear.
It’s just for a few hours. I can do this.