Every single member of my rather large extended family live within a 45minute radius of each other. When I first shared this fun factoid with my now-husband, he thought I was joking. We are a large, loud, Italian, Catholic family. My father is the oldest of the 10 children. It just so happens that this large, loud, Italian, Catholic family sticks together – in a mildly, unhealthy and co-dependent sort of way.
While sticking together and spending time with family is wonderful, my family’s unspoken definition of “stick together” is “take over my entire calendar.”
What do I mean? Allow me to explain:
One day, shortly after Tim and I got married, in a quest to better organize our schedule, I made the mistake of putting all of the family events: birthday parties, sporting events, anniversary parties, holiday parties, pre-holiday parties, baptisms, baby showers, first communions, family dinners, etc. on my calendar.
How was it possible that these people were monopolizing so much of my time?!
I quickly erased nearly all of the events so that my husband wouldn’t see just how much of our time my family tried to call dibs on and decide to move us to the middle of nowhere with no internet or cell service (please, no!). For a man with one sibling and a small extended family that is spread out over the western United States, my family’s constant need to be together is a bit over the top.
While I love my family, I also have my limits. Contrary to popular belief, no one will spontaneously combust if we don’t spend every Saturday driving from playfield to playfield, celebrating every birthday under the sun, or God-forbid having a social life outside of the family. Don’t get me wrong; watching kids draw in the dirt while a game vaguely resembling soccer happened around them was adorable…for about 5 minutes.
How could I say “no” to my loving family when we didn’t have any legitimate other plans? At the time, it seemed almost sacrilegious. Besides, I didn’t really know any other way of being (like I said, we are co-dependent weirdos).
After a few more months of dragging ourselves to every family event known to man, I hit my limit. Not only was I physically tired, but also I was sick of having no time for anything else! We were neglecting our friends, never home, and constantly running from one function to the next. So, I made the decision that the following weekend we would do nothing. And you know what? No one died from our absence. We had a blast doing nothing! We walked the dogs, went to our favorite bakery, did some work around the house, and made one of those amazing dinners that slowly simmered all afternoon on the stove. It felt sinfully self indulgent – and wonderful!!
While we are rarely that stingy with our time every weekend, we certainly don’t oblige every invitation either. It is all about balance. Besides, God commands us to obey the Sabbath after all! After my weekend of wonderful, I became convinced that God was certainly onto something with that whole “Day of Rest” concept. And, we have become big fans! Spending a day at home, weekends away, vacations, and day trips keep us sane amongst our otherwise over-scheduled schedules.