In the movie “Mulan”, the ancestors, ashamed of Mulan’s lack of manners, blame each other for her action saying, “She got it from your side of the family”.
Having two different sides in each family is a source of conflict for every couple. Good things tend to come from your side of the family and bad things from your partners’.
During holidays or family vacations, the war about the right side pops up. Christmas with his family or hers? Staying for the night at his parents or hers?
I remember it from the time I was young. We loved celebrating the holidays with my mom’s side of the family, where there were many kids and lots of space. Grandpa and Grandma gave us candy and we slept on the floor and stayed awake until late at night, sharing silly jokes. Dad’s side of the family was not as much fun and every year, when the time came and dad said we were celebrating with his family, we were counting the seconds for the holiday to end.
Into the “fairness era”
When Gal and I were students, we visited our families, who lived 2.5 hours away in the same town, every 3 to 4 weeks, but we could not handle the question. At the bus station, we used to split up – he would go to his family and I would go to mine. When Eden was born, it was a bit harder to do, because we could split ourselves but could not split Eden for the family to see, hug and cuddle. So with her birth we started the “fairness era” of counting meals and minutes. Lucky us, my mom loved us for dinner and Gal’s mom for lunch and they were 5 minutes’ walk away from each other.
As Eden grew and played a lot with her cousin, who was the same age, it was even harder sharing our time equally. Kids worship the “goddess of fun”. For them, “family time share” is out of the dictionary.
Most couples go through this era at some stage of their life. They try one year here, one year there, trying to keep the sanity for a few more years. When the kids appear, they realize fairness does not really exist.
I remember the fairness era. It was the era of being fair to everyone but ourselves. It took the fun out of the visit. It was more obligation than joy. No matter how long I spent with my family, my sisters thought it was not enough. No matter how long Gal spent with his family, his sisters thought it was not enough. Trying to be fair to our families, we forgot the goddess of fun and entered the struggles of politics in the family.
When we decided to travel around the world, the weekend juggles between the families turned to packed 3-5 weeks of juggles every year. Every year, as we grew older (and maybe wiser), we changed more fairness to truthfulness and realized that fun and joy were true ingredients of every visit and that politics and fun did not go hand in hand.
Kids do not need so many years of adulthood to understand this. Let’s be kids again!