My family tries to get together about once a month for some kind of all-hands-on-deck family meal. Sometimes we celebrate birthdays or events at these meals and sometimes we just get together for the heck of it. At some point these outings came to be called family fiestas regardless of what the meal of the day was. And even though the location and the menus vary, one thing never changes about family fiestas – we laugh our fannies off. Well, not literally (if only that were possible), but figuratively we laugh exactly that hard. That is the way it is with our family – we crack each other up.
Yesterday the family fiesta was at the boys apartment and was a four hour event that involved not only enough Mexican food to feed a small army, but also some basketball, Scrabble and movie watching. This was Jersey boy’s second family dinner. His first experience with the family fiesta was an abbreviated experience with just the three older children and Dusty at a restaurant (Cheyenne was with her father). That was a kinder, friendlier introduction to the family fiesta. That is not to say that the dialogue or the laughter was toned down – it wasn’t; but it was a smaller group in a public place and it was definitely only an appetizer compared to a home-based family fiesta. As such, I worried a bit about Jersey boy’s ability to absorb the “richness” of the family fiesta without running screaming in the other direction. I recognize that part of the fun in our fiestas is being tuned into years of experiences together that we can now poke fun at and laugh about, but I always wonder how those who have come to attend our family fiestas via friendships or relationships absorb all our craziness (because make no mistake about it – you must be a little crazy to be in our family).
Truth be told, there is a bit of a proving ground for those new to family fiestas. If they want to be a part of the family they have to find their fit in the family’s crazy dynamic. Typically, it isn’t too difficult to do as we all tend to enjoy and embrace the folks that our other family members enjoy and embrace – that is just how we roll. Alas, there is always the possibility that the family and the fiesta will be too much for a person or that a person’s fit with the family – or lack of fit – will be evidenced in such an event. It is in some ways a trial by fire – a Thanksgiving dinner on steroids.
Well, I am here to report that Jersey boy survived a home-based family fiesta (or at least he did not run screaming in the other direction…as for the level of emotional scarring -well, that is still to be determined). Jersey boy’s humor found many places to weave into the family dynamic and I think he felt like he fit right in - even if he did suffer the unfortunate blow of being the first one out in the game of PIG (the shorter and pork friendly version of the HORSE basketball game). All-in-all, he hung with the clan as if he had been with us all along…imagine that?! After the fact Cheyenne even commented that having him there made it more fun (which caused me to ask, “What am I – chopped liver?”). So, I guess we’ll keep him around (seeing as he hasn’t had the presence of mind to run away) and next fiesta we will play a proper basketball game with teams. I, of course, will pick Jersey – he is 6’3″ after all and in addition to being a great new addition to the family fiestas he is also one helluva’ a ringer for my basketball team. Like I said, newcomers have to find their place in the family dynamic – and part of that dynamic is dealing with Noah and Cory’s basketball dominance -I feel a winning streak coming on.
Day seven hundred and seventy-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da