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May 31, why do you taunt me so.

I have an argument with my dad. His side of the family is having a 'family-day' on May 31. The entire family is meeting at the house of an aunt and uncle, we're all gonna do something 'sporty', then BBQ and drinks. It's a new tradition that started after grandpa passed away so we could all see each other in person at least once a year. Last year we played 'farmer's golf' and ate a homemade buffet. I do support the idea and make an effort to be there.

Now this year, two other events are crossing my path at exactly that same day. First, there's a radio-workshop at the BNN broadcasting company. I've already cancelled that, because the family-day had already been planned. Pity, but hey, no big deal. But then there's also Laurie Marker's lecture, the founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund who's only in the country for one day. The person at whose headquarters I might be doing a month of volunteerwork next year. I was offered the opportunity to join her for dinner before the lecture, I let that pass. Which just leaves the lecture. It starts at 8pm at a location 200 km away from my aunt's house. So if I leave the family day at 6pm I could easily make it. And now dad's pissed off that I want to leave during the BBQ. Yes, dad, I know that family is important and that we only get to see each other once a year. That's why I'm going to the family day. But is it so hard to understand that some other things can also be important to me? Why does it make me a bad familymember if I don't stay until the end of the night?

I'm sure we'll get into a verbal fight over this when my parents are coming over this Sunday.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
damanique
May. 2nd, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
Yikes. :s Kind of sucks that so many good things are planned on the same day...

Well, it's your life and it's your priorities. From my point of view you already made a lot of sacrifices to be there at family day.

Then again, for me my indirect family isn't that important at all. I rarely, if ever, see them; and they don't care about me or vice-versa.

You're not a bad familymember. At this point, you've made your decision, right? And if your dad can't understand or accept that, there's not much you can do. Your parents don't have to agree with everything you do, however nice that might be. ^^
jonesybunny
May. 2nd, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
Can't really add more than Dama just said above. If I can do anything, let me know.
maartje
May. 3rd, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
I have a tight-knit family, like you. In this case, what you might want to explain to your dad is that you don't wanna leave because you don't like your family, and that you've tried your absolute best to ensure there will be plent of time for you to see everyone.
But on the other hand, explain that the family KNOWS you're a Cheetah-fanatic. Would grandpa really have wanted for you to miss a grand opportunity that may never come again, so that you can spend a few more hours at an annual gathering in his honour?

Explain you're not leaving because you hate the reunion; you're just leaving a bit early to go to something you're really into, and wasn't the point of a family to be a group of trusted people who wish the best for each other? This leaving early will ensure you'll be in your best mood for as long as you're there, instead of being in a foul mood all day long because you're missing something that's important to you.

Would grandpa have wanted for you to put on a fake cheery face while you're really pissed off? Explain that you tried to make this a compromise that will ensure that everybody is as happy as possible.

Why is it so important for your dad that you're there all the time? It's a serious question. Because you're "supposed to" be there, because you will look silly/ungrateful if you're not there all day, because he's afraid you'll be looking at the clock all the time?

Offer to stay for one toast before the barbecue starts, dedicate it to grandpa and maybe publicly explain why you have to leave early; don't forget to include "I hate to have to leave so early, but..." so that nobody thinks you're ungrateful or having a bad time, and most of all make clear you're not leaving out of disrespect for grandpa.
If you know grandpa would approve of you leaving, for example because he always wanted to learn about subjects he found interesting or always said you should follow your own path (I didn't know him, so I can't advise you specifically), you could mention that.

Good luck and remember:
-try to stay calm and friendly, even when dad raises his voice,

-don't let yourself be dragged into a different argument (including "you're always dodging responsibilities" etc, that's a debate for another day)

-remember these people love you, and you love them

-take a break from the fight if things get heated: "let me make coffee first and when I come back we'll continue"

-ask questions: why do you need to be there for the entire evening? Is the reason sufficient, and is the solution of staying the entire time appropriate for the problem? ("You'll look ungrateful!"->"But should I stay just to not look ungrateful then? Isn't there another way not to look ungrateful?")

-Don't fall into the trap of blackmail and/or bluffing, by doing it or giving in to it ("I'll never come to a reunion again if you don't leave me alone" or "Dad, if you stop yelling I'll be there all day.")

Take care. :)
maartje
May. 6th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
So? How did it go? :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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