We just got back from our family vacation with grandchildren, their parents and spouses but not all could attend. Some had apprehensions because of Covid, and they work at a hospital so had to be especially careful. We did have some restrictions and some things were closed such as waterslides. Masks were required.
Other than all the usual rules in place, I was so happy we didn’t have to cancel our first outing like this for our family. There were 15 of us total. Eight of them were our grandchildren. The youngest almost five and the oldest ones were eleven. Four families. We went to a lake so what is not to like about that? We stayed, some to share a cabin and the others stayed in rooms at a newly built hotel on the property.
The weather was wonderful. Overcast and a bit windy the first day. A bit breezy and sunny the next couple days. All in all, we were so blessed that the rain held out for us. Even though there were both indoor and outdoor pools, there is nothing like running through sand on a beach. Most of us tried paddle boarding for the first time, including grandpa and me! Fun!
Next year I think we will add another day to the trip for us. Instead of buying Christmas gifts, this was our 2019 Christmas present for our family. There is no better choice, then spending time with your family, and making memories. What is more memorable than riding with Grandpa on the banana boat and fishing off a dock for crappies and sunnies? This, was only a fragment of the memories that were made the last few days.
I had to pray a lot though, because I know how I can get, with all the in-laws, and some small challenges (for me) I encounter at times with our blended family. There were so many different family dynamics going on at once. Different personalities and ways of parenting. I had to keep my mouth shut often and just let these parents, take care of their own children in their own way.
Stress is easier to manage if not too many people are stirring the pot. I can be a bit bossy otherwise, and boisterous and obnoxious if I didn’t “pray” for self-control. I had to pray a lot, and sometimes walk away and hide in the bathroom, just to gain some composure.
Only once did I really raise my voice. A parent was at the cabin with three kids in toll and someone left the cabin door open. I don’t care if it was our final day there and families were just gathering their things from our refrigerator, so we could check out! Gee whiz! Do you know how many flies can enter a place in Minnesota, not to mention mosquitos, even in the middle of the day.
I was livid….just said only once, “SHUT THE DOOR! Who left the door open?” Worse, no one owned up to it and no one said they were sorry. Worse still, the one I love, minimized the situation and said it didn’t matter…we were getting ready to leave now anyway. At least within the hour, we were. Does anyone see my side of this drama?
It is one thing to be kind. It is one thing to just be casual and laid back. I am really the opposite of casual and laid back unless you are talking about clothing. But, shouldn’t we be teaching our children to be responsible. Close doors once you enter a house. This in Minnesota is unlike what you could do in a dryer state, say, Colorado. There are few if any flying insects in Colorado, at least not on the plains.
Sometimes I think the biggest thing that gets into the way of a child’s proper development is the parents that raise them. OK….I need to tone it down now here and calm down. I am just recalling the moment….just when I thought I was doing pretty good with vacation winding down with our lovely group.
The toughest times for me, were during meal preparations. I think next year we will assign meals…or not. I may have to just set boundaries right away. We didn’t have many tense moments thankfully. My husband’s family is pretty easy to get along with. I had brought up my homemade spaghetti sauce and a crockpot. It was my intention to take care of the first meal together.
I was happy to contribute and serve my family. I only needed to plug it in, set it on low, and eventually I would make the noodles closer to the time we would eat. It would be several hours so we headed for the beach to meet the family gathered there who already arrived.
Time passed and we were all having such a good time. Before I knew it, my husband was walking back from the cabin, after getting us some beverages and told me that his daughter started the water for the noodles. REALLY? I was in shock and awe.
This was my moment to pray. “Dear God, please help me to not be out of control right now and help me to be kind.” That was after I yelled at my husband without raising my voice though and making a scene…pretty good for me….and told him, “The spaghetti is MY THING! I can take care of the noodles!!!”
Seriously, I know this child of his (my step daughter) was just being helpful and kind. Yet, why did I feel she was stepping into my territory? Why did I somehow feel I was being disregarded by my husband. Why didn’t he just tell her, I will talk to (ME) my wife and see when she wants to start dinner. GRRRRR. This happens often as this particular child of ours is overly helpful. She helps when I am handling things well enough on my own.
Sometimes I don’t want help. Sometimes I want to do the work. Sometimes I want the meal to be my gift including boiling the water for the noodles. I feel like a child when I am ignored or not even considered when others just do things without asking me. When they ask, do you need any help, I am sometimes offended, and I know I should not be offended. I think…..do they think I am incompetent?
Just because I do things slower, just because I don’t do things on their time table, it does not mean I am incapable of doing something. I guess I just love to serve, so leave me to it and you go and relax somewhere. This is my turn to wait on you. This is your turn to not interfere. This is your turn to not give me your advice or recommendation.
I am not sure if it is my age, and my eyes are not what they used to be that people think I am helpless. I didn’t lash out at this child. I said nothing. For this part, I handled myself alright, but still my heart was not feeling right towards her. This I don’t like. She is a darling, sweet young lady. She loves her dad and I do too. I can’t put my husband in the middle. A second wife would never be the side he would take over a daughter, if ever he was forced to. I would never want that anyway.
I just have so much trouble with this area in our relationship. My husband and his adorable, loving kids. It is my heart that is wrong. They are good and there is much love and history between them and their father. I just hate being over looked and that is how I always feel when his children do something, but my feelings are not even considered.
I am seriously a sick person, to feel this way. It is hard to shake though. I am an independent woman and always have been. I was a single mom and for 15 years raised my kids who all did alright in life, although I pray for their spiritual life, which is everything to me. Much more than degrees and careers, ambition and financial security….and good looks! LOL!
The following day I made a batch of mac and cheese…homemade…for the kids to go with the meal. I didn’t do all the cooking. I just thought, not everyone will want a burger or a hotdog. So, as I am pouring in the second box of noodles, I only used half the box. Who was standing by but the helpful one. “Why don’t you just make the full two boxes?” My gut was telling me I made enough and could save the rest of the carton for another meal sometime.
Insistently nagging me about using both boxes, I just said, “I can use the rest for another day. I don’t like to make more than I need and have it go to waste.” This was another pray filled moment for me. “Help me to be kind Lord. Help me to not get angry out loud.” That is just a paraphrase, but you get my meaning.
Again, I was being challenged. Self-control is so hard and without God, I am lost in this area.
We continue to butt heads in this way, her and I, but I do care about her. I pray God changes my heart towards my husband’s kids. He has to change my heart because you can’t fake it!
Faking love never works. A smile that is not genuine, is worse than a frown, I think. We got past this moment and there will be another, then next time we come together. I will have a discussion with my husband another time….another day about how this all makes me feel. If he gets defensive, which he won’t, or just says I am being overly sensitive, which I am….but it isn’t what I need to hear from him, then, we’ll just see where the conversation goes.
I am not a child….a baby…but sometimes I feel I act like one at times. Maybe it is alright, the way I feel. I just can’t put a finger on why. Maybe my answer will come to me when I read my Bible next. Maybe I will ask God why. Maybe, the next time we have a family gathering and I want to do something special, I will make it clear at the start, this is what I want to do for you. Or, have everything in place and ready before everyone even arrives.
I am not sure how tomorrow will go. Does anyone? I just want to be better. I want to be a person people enjoy having around. I know the work starts with me. Within my heart. I will continue to pray that God changes my heart and removes all the wickedness seen and unseen within me.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)