Like most couples, Bryan and I spend every Holiday trying to balance our two families. We both have parents and siblings that we would like to spend time with, and Bryan has two adult children. Up to this point in our relationship, we’ve mainly taken the “Divide and conquer” route: He goes and spends time with his family, and I go spend time with mine. Our families are too far apart geographically for us to see everyone on the same day together. It’s worked out in the sense that neither of our families feel that we’re leaving them out. But then, we don’t get to spend the Holidays together. And, since the Holidays are when most people get together, it means neither of us has really had a chance to get to know and interact with the other’s family as a whole. There’s also the issue that Bryan’s children haven’t exactly warmed to the idea of him being in a relationship with someone.
Bryan and I have a great life together. But, integrating our families into that life hasn’t exactly been seamless. I think our age difference also plays a role in that; In day-to-day life, and even among friends, it’s a complete non-issue for us. But my parents (and siblings) have a harder time adjusting to me dating someone my parents’ age. And the opposite is true with his family and children. Then we get into issues of boundaries, and lifestyles, and… Why are families so hard?!?
After nearly 4 years of going our separate ways, this year we’ve decided to do something different. Instead of seeing one family or the other for Thanksgiving, we’ll be spending the time together. Alone. On a beach.
I know, I know! The Holidays are about family, and togetherness, and blah.blah.blah. And in years past, I’ve felt the same way. I’ve never missed a Thanksgiving with my family. I’m understanding of people who have to miss a Holiday with one family to spend time with another. But, I’ve always felt that, even if you don’t want to, you show up for the Holidays (Except in truly dysfunctional family situations). That’s just what families do! It’s part of being family!
You certainly don’t skip Thanksgiving to go on vacation!
But this year, that’s exactly what Bryan and I are doing. I found us a great deal at a resort on the beach. It won’t be swimming weather, but at around 70 degrees, we’ll still be able to walk on the beach and enjoy a warmer climate. The 12 hour drive is a little ridiculous for only 3 nights away. But, at least gas is cheap this year! We plan on eating out, enjoying the outdoors, and just spend some time relaxing together.
With everything that’s happened, 2015 has not been a good year. Work has been a disaster for me all year, and I haven’t felt right taking time off for a real vacation. Actually, the only time off I’ve taken this year has been for family emergencies, which there have been way too many of. Bryan has found a good place with an employer this year. Now that he’s once again an hourly employee, he’s worked all the hours he could, which has included almost every Saturday since June. He hasn’t wanted to rock the boat by requesting time off. And he’s been told there’s a good possibility he’ll work at least part of the winter, which is rare in construction. We both have a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving. If we want to take a vacation together, this was our chance.
Oddly enough, we’ve both taken vacation since we’ve been together, just not together. Excluding a few weekend trips, we’ve never gone away together. He’s taken numerous fishing trips with his friends. I’ve taken several trips with my Mom and sisters. But we haven’t really gone away together. Weird, huh? Granted, this trip isn’t a long one. But, it’s the longest one we’ve done, both in the amount of time and the distance from home.
The Holidays are about family. Bryan is my family; He’s the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I think many times my relationship with my family overshadows that. I feel like, this year especially, it’s important that we invest a little more into each other. We need to rebuild a solid foundation in each other. And then, over the course of the next year, we can figure out how to build our families in around that. And, maybe by next year, we’ll have a better idea of how to approach the Holidays as a team.
Of course, we’ve yet to decide how we’ll approach Christmas this year. But for Thanksgiving at least, we’re indulging our urge to run!
- Cindy W.