I saw the meme above on Facebook today. And it reminded me of the culture I live in, here in the midwest.
This is where big families are king. And my small family of three is not.
While the trend of small families is pretty normal throughout the US, it is not in the cluster of states known as Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Kentucky.
I have found this out the hard way, moving from NY to Ohio over 20 years ago. I knew I was marrying into a big family but didn’t realize the complexities that come along with that.
First, my in-laws think big families are superior. If there is a big event, everyone has the event where they have the biggest family/biggest property.
Second, this goes for most major holidays. It has taken years and years and years to change traditions. I don’t necessarily want to spend every single 4th of July for the rest of my life at the big family picnic.
Third, when you push back on something like that, you are going to get resistance. Such as being called “antifamily” or “not family oriented”.
Which for me is bs. Because most of my major family members died 20 years ago, which is something I can’t control, I don’t have the “big family” to go and visit.
So when the holidays start coming around, it makes me cringe. Because I know I am going to be arguing with my mother-in-law. And the pandemic adds another level of complexity I no longer want to deal with.
More people around a dinner table, swapping germs and arguments, is not Thanksgiving to me. 20 people are not more valuable than 3. Or even 2. You can have a family of 2 and be just fine and happy. More people does not make the family more valid.
My in-laws way of viewing families will have to change very quickly here, as the current Gen Z generation is in their 20’s now and only one of them is having kids. The others are busy with jobs and life. They are not following the same path of getting married super young and having as many kids as they can.
I feel my family is truly a generation ahead of them because we know what it’s like to not have tons of people around the holiday table. And we are fine with it. It’s time those from big families stop making the rest of us feel bad and inferior to them.
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