Here’s my current situation: I’m on the second-floor balcony of a South Carolina beach house trying to elude the 17 children/young adults roving the grounds. And if I’m honest, I’m also hoping to avoid their parents, including — but not limited to — Doo, my beloved spouse of 25 years. That’s right, friends, it’s our annual family reunion, and four days in, I’m ready to be done.
Don’t get me wrong – I look forward to this trip every summer. Spending a week oceanside enjoying the company of my sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, Doo and our kids and my mom, is a wonderful gift. But 28 people between the ages of 7 months to 76, piled on top of each other into a single-kitchen home, becomes overwhelming fairly quickly, especially for an introverted, early-to-bed neat freak like myself. Even an intriguing 1,000-piece oldies TV puzzle and nightly charades can’t offset my need to escape, at least for a short while.
I know I shouldn’t be annoyed by the little things – the discarded Hi-C boxes, the raucous laughter of coeds playing poker at 2 a.m. and the baby paraphernalia literally everywhere. These are simply the inevitable byproducts of large multigenerational get-togethers. But if I step into a melted puddle of Lucky Charms marshmallows one more time, I am going to lose my flipping mind.
Hence the hiding. This balcony has become my relatively quiet, persons-free safe space where I can ponder the universe and the latest “Shadowhunter” book without fear of being roped into a game of Sorry or forced to bear witness to the results of the 15th Kroger run of the morning. Not a bad current situation.