Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

OK, There are a lot of decisions to make regarding JM, driving, insurance and sanity.
I'll think about that tomorrow.

Tonight we had our family dinner get away. No, not just the 4 of us...but THE FAMILY. About every 4-6 weeks my dad, his wife Edna, Chatty Kelly and her family, ET and her family, My brother and his girlfriend (and sometimes his daughter), and my family all meet at a local pizza restaurant for dinner. Also, although not tonight, my son JM usually brings a friend because everyone is either much older or much younger than he is. That means there can easily end up being a total of 18 of us. 10 adults, 8 kids (ok, 6 kids and 2- 17 year olds).

Sounds Fun, right?.....

Stress- (Webster)-Mental or Physical Tension or Strain.

Stress- (Thesaurus)-affliction, agony, alarm, anxiety, apprehensiveness, dread, hardship, hassle, intensity, nervousness, nervous tension, overextension, strain, tautness, tenseness, tension, trauma, trepidation, trial, worry....just to name a few

Family Dinners=Stress.

We always go to the same shady little pizza parlor. By shady I don't mean to picture a beautiful apple tree with glorious shade to keep the sun off the back of your neck. Nope, by shady I mean, this pizza parlor is probably a front for well, who know what! We've suggested other places but my dad and Edna (his wife....who is a very sweet lady) always insist on this place.

They usually arrive about 30 minutes early. So even if we get there 15 minutes early, my dad will look up and say something like "We weren't sure you were coming". or "Well, finally" or something of that nature. If we get there on time exactly, he has probably already called out house to make sure we are still coming and if we are 5 minutes late....well, lets just say it isn't a good idea to be 5 minutes late. Stress.

My brother is usually there just a few minutes after my dad and Edna. He's probably started his 2nd pitcher of beer by now and through slurred words is exclaiming either his newest business venture or his political views....Stress.

At some point soon afterwards Chatty Kelly, ET, Myself and our families arrive. Chaos.

Before we have even sat down we will be told:

A. To ET or Me "You have lost too much weight or You better slow down because you're getting fat." STRESS
B. To Chatty Kelly "Are you ever going to finish typing up those papers for me?" STRESS
C. To all 3 of us if one of our husbands couldn't come due to work or another excuse they could come up with. "Why isn't (insert husband's name) here? Are ya'll having problems? Ya'll aren't getting along are you?, Are things bad at work?, Do you think they are going to keep their jobs (each has had the same job for anywhere between 10-30 years), Are you making any money? STRESS.
D. To all three of us again, "Have you talked to your mama lately?" (He knows we haven't talked to her in years.) Stress
E. I talked to your mama today or yesterday. She said (insert awful gossip or mean saying) about you. Why don't you call her and see how she is? S-T-R-E-S-S!!
F. When I die (this is my dad talking) Who's going to take care of her? Stress.

OK, we sit down.

Everyone is talking at once. No-one hears what everyone else is saying. Don't forget I have ADHD so when more than one conversation is coming my way, I'm completely lost......Did I mention my Dad doesn't believe in ADHD?

15-20 minutes later the waitress comes and gets our drink order. 10-15 more minutes we get our drinks.
Waitress runs off with a quick "be right back"
20 minutes later she takes our order. usually it is a few salads and 3-5 large pizzas.---Not to difficult for a pizza restaurant. There is always that quick spark of hope that dad will order 1,000 Island dressing instead of the I-talian (Pronouncing it as Eye-talian, over emphasize the long I sound) dressing.
3 hours later (OK, major exaggeration....but it feels like it) 30-45 minutes later (still longer than it should take) the pizza's arrive.

My dad to ET or Me "I Don't think you need to eat that second piece of pizza, you don't want to get fat...... OR........ You better eat some more, you're too skinny".

My dad to Chatty Kelly- "Your husband is doing pretty well at work, you should pay for everyones meal".

My brother to anyone within earshot...."Thish ish pretty gooood peetesha."

The checks finally arrive after we've finally flagged down the waitress (who always happens to be walking fast and looking the opposite way when she walks by. They add in a mandatory 18% tip to each person's bill in parties of 15 or more. She always slips it in but never mentions it...hoping we won't notice and double tip maybe?

FINALLY it is time to go. There are hugs, kisses and I love yous all around. Everyone is exhausted.

The last words out of my dad's mouth "Don't forget to check your calendars and see what day we can all do it next time." (he'll also call each of us 6-8 times to see if we have set a new date for the next one and then call each of us 6-8 times to confirm that we are going.) Stress

Don't get me wrong. I really do love my dad and Edna. I also know that he looks forward to these family dinners. As I tell JM (my 17 year old) when he doesn't want to go, it's just one of those things. You do it because you love the person. You do it because it makes them happy. It's a matter of respect.

Oh, and guess what else it is....STRESS!


The Patterson 5 said...

I'm stressed out just reading this! Even though it is stressful I think it is wonderful you guys all get together! Lots of people only get to "enjoy" this level of stress at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.

beverlydru said...

I think the conversations you described can be repeated all over America with a twist here and there. And there's always at least one family member that enhances the stress factor. LOL. Great writing, you!

myADHDme said...

To His Princess...I tried leaving a comment on your post, but I couldn't get it to work. Will try again later. Computer problem or user problem? hhmmm

Valerie said...

:::sigh::: family.

Thanks for the heads up on the book. Now, I did nurse my boys on a strict schedule, it was part of my control issue of wanting to be able to tell THEM what we would do about something in our relationship at that point...anyways....I'll check out that website!

Um, by the way, after reading your posts, my boys are NEVER driving.

Chatty Kelly said...

The funny thing is, outings with each family individually is not stressful. I have breakfast with my dad & his wife every Saturday morning. I have fun with ADHD, ET & my brother individually...but when we all get together I think family posturing, sibling rilvary all kick in. Who is dad's favorite? Who is (Siblings)'s favorite? Why are they talking to her not me? You never told ME that?

I think that's the stress. Even when dad called my daugther the nickname he used to call ET when she was little...STRESS.

But at least we have each other!

My ADHD Me said...

Chatty kelly is a point. We do all do pretty well on a one-on-one basis. But I disagree on the sibling rivalry part. That's not really an issue----well, maybe a little bit with CK and ET. haha.
Lucky for me, I have my wall.
And my dad can stress each of us out. We love him. He just drives us CRAZY!!! You know, a typical dad.

On Purpose said...

I have to agree about being stressed just reading this...but then I thought of times I could relate, which made me feel like my family was normal after all.

Edie said...

This is my third time having to try to leave a comment here becuase Blogger isn't cooperating. I'm getting stressed! :D

I cant remember what I said the last two times but it had something to do with there being two really great people at your family dinner. Sorry I didn't make it, something came up at the last minute and I was too stressed. :o :p ;) :> =l :x :S

And now it's clear that I don't have enough to do. Later Gater!

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

To say I have a strained relationship with my sister (parents are both deceased) is kind of like saying the economy is having a little hiccup. She called me on my birthday last week and I haven't even been able to re-gird myself enough to write about it yet. STRESS. Curious...what did your dad say about JM and the Hazards of Driving While Teening...?

My ADHD Me said...

Oh dear...I forgot to mention to my dad about the accident.

Chatty Kelly said...


Oh, excuse me. Did I say that outloud?

Edie said...

You two are like Laurel and Hardy! I was already laughing at ADHD-Jo's comment and it just got louder when I read CK's.

Want me to give your dad a call for you to tell him about the accident? (snicker)

My ADHD Me said...

Edie, how very kind of you! You're feeling more like a sister every day!

I can hear my dad now--"He doesn't need a car anyway. Back in my day, if we wanted to go somewhere we walked. Plus we didn't have time to go running all over the place. We had school, homework, chores and went to bed early.....yadda, yadda, yadda"

I don't know where he gets these stories from, HIS dad used to tell us "I walked 3 miles in the snow to school. Snow up to my knees. (He lived in Virginia and Texas). We had 1 pair of boots that my brother and I could share. We each wore one and hopped on one foot all the way to school. When our legs got tired we traded boots......"


Sue J. said...

Clearly, you and CK must be from the same family because she could have written this blog (only with a pink border).

I'm just so glad you two have each other right now....

God created families; God created humor; God has found a way to bring them both together here.....

And I'm sure He's working on a few other things, too.....

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

---** snicker **---

Edie said...

Why Thanks Sis! :D

Anonymous said...

Wow, I certainly think this stinks. I drive 40 minutes everytime and I always have a good time. I love bantering back and forth with CK and I love pretending that it matters whose dads favorite is but that stuff really never mattered to me. I love to see everyone at different stages in their lifes with their kids. I think my dad is a Loon but in his weird way he loves us and I'm hoping that when he passes you guys don't want to stop getting together. I was just totally disappointed in reading this.


My ADHD Me said...


Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

Mentioned you again on my's the whole FBI thing that's got me worried.

(p.s. One other thought--I CAN'T drive yet so 17-yr-old has been one of my chauffeurs. Putting the imaginary brake on with the foot that's in the walking boot is still not a really good idea...

Sue J. said...


Making fun of your family dynamic often becomes a part of what your family is all about. I have 3 sisters and we bring all our hubbies and all our kids together for one week with my folks in the same house. We're glad the house is as big as it is sometimes.

Knowing CK and ADHDMe the way I do, I can't imagine why they wouldn't want to get together with you. They love your dad in the same way you do--really!

Family is something very unique. I said it in my comments; God created the family. He knew what would happen when certain folks came together. It's irreplaceable.

From my daughter's favorite book of the moment, Just Me and My Family (Mercer Mayer): "Each one of us is different and we love each other a lot. I think that's what a family is all about."

You've gotta know they like getting together with everyone just as much as you do :-)

Chatty Kelly said...

ET - we all know who dad's favorite's AMY!!! (LOL!!! - this is a joke everyone else. Amy is a gospel singer my dad follows and she's our age. We joke that she is dad's favorite, and she's not related).

Although my little one is his new pookie pot. And she loves him just as much. And she loves you too - "tickle tickle!"

My ADHD Me said...

Sue J-Welcome back. :)

A&O X 4-I feel your pain!

Anonymous said...

I do love CKs little one she always makes me smile!! Even if I've been replaced :) Papa even told a story when I asked him what he called her.


Irritable Mother said...

Oh, I love your story-telling!
And I think I would love to be a fly on the wall at this pizza place when you're all there. What a sight that must be...
But I must agree with patterson 5 - I think it is wonderful that you all get together, in spite of the stress. Wish my family did.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

You know, this is humorous and touching at the same time. There isn't an honest person alive who won't admit to the stress of the family get-together, even if the details are different from fam to fam. And this holiday season that is approaching becomes this HUGE stress for so many because of the very issues you touched on here, plus more. I loved the way you tied this post up. "Love covers a multitude of sins," doesn't it.