Because my family is so small and each micro unit is divided by a state, ocean or continent from the rest, family affairs are inherently a big deal. We see each other so rarely and only under the best or the worst circumstances. The flaw there is that such circumstances are few and far between and, if it involves crossing continents, so little time is spent actually enjoying each other's company because we tend to busy ourselves with sight-seeing and shopping, whether for ourselves or others.
I think the main reason I enjoy spending time with my husband's side of the family so much is
because, in my opinion, they see each other so often and yet each time the family is gathered feels like it's such a big deal.
This past weekend we were gathered to celebrate a union. That is, in any family, a huge celebration, whatever the reason for celebrating it might be. But what drove home the idea that it's possible for each family gathering to be a big deal was what happened after.
Usually the family will gather to celebrate the wedding and then after the reception, people will start drifting off and going home.
Last weekend, the couple paid for the families to spend the night at the resort so we would all still be together the following morning. The idea, they said, was so that it would feel like the family just decided to take a weekend trip together and they, despite being newly-wed, would feel like an old married couple, waking up to the sounds of noise and laughter from their families.
Makes you wonder why you didn't think of that, doesn't it? Or at least, it made me think that.
And being still newly-wed myself, waking to that chaos did make me feel like we'd been married for years. Granted that it can almost be said for myself and my husband since we lived together for about four years before tying the knot, there was a different sense of comfort to it but at the same time, it wasn't the kind of comfort that one might take for granted.
From the church ceremony in San Juan, Batangas, moving to the overnight stay in Laiya, one would think that after the family checks out, everyone would go home. But as I walked around the resort taking photos, I received a call from my husband--he was at the car loading our bag--saying the family decided to go to Tagaytay, Cavite, to have lunch.
So we all drove to Tagaytay, had lunch on the road to Tagaytay, and kept going until "lunch in Tagaytay" became "dinner in Tagaytay."
And it was just precisely that. No frills, just the family, sitting around one extremely long table (by then only about half the family was around so from thirty something, there were maybe fifteen or so) eating gyoza and ramen. And talking.
Suddenly I'm not sure how to express why I feel like that sort of thing is such a big deal.
The family I was born into talks around the dinner table at home. When we eat out, it's often for the purpose of celebrating one thing or another because normally, it's too difficult to get everyone together in the same place.
The family I married into has dinner out just because. And although it feels like it's dinner just like any other dinner, it was special because the micro units separated by cities are sitting together and talking face to face, not chatting on Facebook. The family I was born into does not have that luxury.
I am so blessed to have been born into a family that values time together because because they are such rare events, and I am equally blessed to have married into a family that values time together because it is time spent together.