Feel free to comment as I write :) The family gathering. Perhaps a family reunion, or a wedding, or a graduation. Most of us will meet with family for fun, celebration, or grieving. Families can be our biggest support. And our biggest trigger. The gatherings can be rewarding or exhausting. Or both at once.
I have a huge family. We're tight. We get together as often as possible. I love my family. And still, over time, I need strategies for enjoying our time together.
Family knew us from the beginning. They knew us as children. If our challenges are caused by an accident, or worsening symptoms, they remember us before the changes. They may measure us against our former selves. We may bring sadness, or worries. And to mitigate the effects of our challenges, we may take on more activities than we should. We may work harder just so they won't worry.
At the same time, we can build resentments if we feel people don't believe our challenges. We may have stories of insensitive moments. We may feel overlooked.
And we have logistical challenges. Travel arrangements. Car rides, airplanes, hotels, scheduled days. There may be traditional sports or hikes. Early mornings and late evenings. Kitchens to clean and kids to wrangle. A lot more than our usual routines at home.
So how can we balance the realities of our ever-changing worlds with the many challenges of a family gathering?
By paying attention, being prepared, and heaping an extra helping of kindness on the day.
Stick with routines
Snacks and water
Schedule downtime afterwards