by SARAH BUTLER
Recently I found myself standing at my cousin’s wedding talking to my parents and my sister. It was weird. Not weird bad. Weird nice. Nice because it was the first time in a long time that I could remember just hanging out with the three of them like that.
The spell was soon broken – my husband returned from the bar – but it got me thinking about how infrequently we spend time together these days – just the four of us. We are always chaperoned by partners, grandparents, offspring or friends.
I couldn’t help thinking it a little sad that we never hang out together like we did for almost two decades. Now sure, toward the end of that second decade you couldn’t have paid me to be in the room with the three of them but these days I have a feeling it would be calmer (read: I am calmer), and quite nice even.
Of course this is simply what happens as you grow older. It’s undeniably better than the alternative – my sister and I living on top of each other attested development style in our old bedrooms. And of course it’s a beautiful thing that new people come into our lives and make them more interesting. My husband and my son are two examples of this.
Just occasionally though, I’d quite like to shift back into flighty older sister with two doting parents mode rather than being the organised wife and responsible mother. I’d like my mum to cook me dinner and yell at me about the state of my room.
I was lamenting this to a friend who immediately admitted to me that she would also love to spend some time with her ‘original’ family because she can’t remember the last time that she, her brother and her parents were all alone together in the same room without her passive-aggressive sister-in-law driving everyone batty.
Another friend also thought that ‘first family’ together time was a great idea. She is single, and explained that as much as she loves her in-laws, nieces and nephews, she feels that a lot of her family’s traditions have been lost over time and that their get togethers now are always so hectic, there’s never really a chance to catch up with her parents and siblings properly.