Friday, March 22, 2013

All in the Family (meeting)

I am a survivor of childhood trauma. 

And by that, I mean the numerous ridiculous phases my parents went through with a level of enthusiasm most of their peers from that era reserved for variety shows and key parties: the disco-dancing-class phase (replete with matching blue and white platform shoes); the health food phase (wheat germ on everything!); the religion-buffet phase; the aerobic dance phase (just Mom, fortunately); and probably the grooviest of them all:

the family meeting phase.

I do appreciate their efforts -- they did things to stay connected with each other and to try and make our family function well (or at least in time to the beats of Donna Summer songs). However, I'm not sure any of those things really benefitted their marriage or our clan in ways they intended. Sure, there was bonding over whatever-new-initiative-of-the-moment, but it was mostly in the form of eye rolls and secret looks exchanged between my sister and me.

Now that I have my own child and everything I once mocked I now do, we, too, have implemented a weekly meeting into our own family routine. (Though, fortunately, I have the Dilettantes with whom to share all of the other ridiculous experiments.)

Taking a note from the experts, we use this family meeting time to discuss things that went well during the week, what we appreciated about each other, family business and decisions, and then things that we need to work on or "do better" the following week. 

Of course, within about one week of beginning this, my husband and I expanded upon the concept of "do better" to provide a forum for us to unload a Festivus-worthy airing of grievances. Now whenever either of us feels any bit of annoyance with anything during the week, we simply say to the other in our newly-developed shorthand, "put it on the agenda."

So again I find myself repeating the pattern of bonding through the magic of the family meeting albeit in a different way than intended.

And at least I'm not making anybody choke down wheat germ.

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