the tight-knit Madigan family photo

Family fusion

July 22, 2021

   So the least sociable of both the Madigan and Champagne families is the one who decided to resurrect the reception celebrating our wedding that covid had canceled last July.

  Why didn’t I let this sleeping dog lie? While it’s true that nobody can outperform the Madigans when it comes to creating social events that sparkle with laughter and energy; with the Champagnes…not so much.

   My experiences with family gatherings growing up were more akin to a mob war. The fighting would start before the charcoal could get hot. I thought hot dogs were supposed to be eaten cold in the back seat of a car, as one’s parents argued over whose fault it was this time. An announcement of a family reunion was received with the same level of gravity as a demand for unconditional surrender. Family members wouldn’t arrive so much as amass, like at a border. Add these fond memories to a personality that embraces solitude the way normal people embrace a stadium rock concert, and you can begin to see the dimensions of my anxiety anticipating all this.

My son and daughter have both thrown successful wedding receptions regarding their own marriages, and are quite familiar now with their father’s preferred hiding places, which in the current case will no doubt find me in the bounce house with the youngest ones.

   It goes without saying that as soon as there was general agreement to reinstate the reception for this July, I was immediately relieved of all planning duties. Nobody could figure why I wanted so many ficus trees for decorations, for one thing. And Carol has long figured out the real scheme behind me always wanting to do all the cooking. “You’re mixing, mister,” she has explained.

   My son and daughter have both thrown successful wedding receptions regarding their own marriages, and are quite familiar now with their father’s preferred hiding places, which in the current case will no doubt find me in the bounce house with the youngest ones.

   I’m informed there will also be a toast, which I look upon with the same anticipation of a jury’s guilty verdict. I’m pretty certain a reading from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address will not be approved.

   The good news out of all this is that the Madigan clan will learn that my family is not like me, and that if my kids have learned how to deal with me, then so can they. They’ll be able to explain that my tendency to drift off into space in the middle of a conversation can be corrected with a simple finger snap in front of my eyes, or the heel of a hand gently to my forehead. Seeing my kids living normal lives will reassure Carol’s family that my impact on them will continue to be minimal.

   There is the outside chance the party will exceed all my expectations, and end with a big fight with people stomping off vowing never to see one another again, veiled threats of revenge and the little ones learning what a cold hot dog tastes like. It’ll be like old home week, and I’ll revel in the happy thought that all my forebears are dead and buried.

   Could be a wonderful time after all, come to think of it.


More about Carol and Reid’s wedding here: The Covid-19 Wedding Anniversary and The Marriage

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