Family and Relationships

I Don’t Listen Well

>And I don’t believe that I’m alone in this flaw. It’s genetic. Truly! How do I know? Oh, it is so easy to see if you know what you’re looking for.

I come from a large family. When I say “large” I do not mean my four kids, plus two stepkids. That’s a big family. I mean LARGE!! I am number two out of ten children! You did not read that wrong. TEN! That’s large! We are all very much alike in a lot of ways, but so very different in some key ways. My finest trait is that I am a planning Nazi!! Some of my siblings share this gene. Some (most) do not. I have sufficiently passed this trait on to some of my children. OK, fine. One of my children.

Because I am a planning Nazi, and because there are so many people in my family, and because my parents always want to get together at Christmas when it is COLD thus making it impossible for us to get away from each other because we’re stuck indoors in a hotel conference room (BREATHE!) I decided that the better plan (remember I’m a Nazi) would be to set up a reunion schedule for a time of the year when it was warm. It makes perfect sense. We could all get together and enjoy the benefits of a large family. We could be someplace warm where we can get outside and away from everyone when the “benefits” seem a little overwhelming. We could have a set time so that the other Nazi’s in the family who plan vacations YEARS in advance could plan accordingly for a reunion. So I did the logical thing (another fine trait of mine, I’m logical!); I sent an email to the entire family. When you include grandchildren who are old enough to have an opinion, the email went out to about 50 people.

The email was simple: Christmas is not an optimal time to get together because –
A: None of my children live at home anymore so when they’re home, I want them to myself (Selfish, I know. Don’t care). Note – I didn’t include the ( ) items in my email, but it was certainly implied.
B: Christmas is an expensive and hectic time to travel, not to mention the bad weather most of the family has to go through to get to Mom’s house.
C: It’s winter in Missouri and it’s cold so we’re stuck in one big room with each other. I love you all, but it’s too much togetherness. (no offense) Again, implied, not verbalized.

My request from them was simple:
A: I would like to establish one week every other year that would always be our family reunion week so the planning Nazi’s in the family can put it on their schedules.
B: We all live in different parts of the country and I would like to rotate places to have the reunion and see this glorious country that we live in instead of always going to our little po-dunk home town.

Simple. Two items. How tough can that be? HAH! How tough, indeed! SIXTY FIVE emails later (not lying, and only 1/3 of the family cared enough to even respond) we had concurred on the last full week in June, and set up a reunion committee to investigate someplace centrally located to everyone for our first reunion. Oddly enough, the first committee consisted of the aforementioned siblings with planning Nazi tendencies: Julie, MelissaO, me, and later during the planning phase, Ann. After another 100 emails between the committee, we had the plan laid out and ready to send to the family for a vote. Not a good plan. We should have just made every decision regarding the reunion and left it at that. But in the name of fairness we decided to let everyone have their opinions regarding location and financial issues. As expected, this generated another slew of emails back and forth requesting discussions on one topic or another. It was at this point that I realized that I don’t “listen” well. David pointed this out to me when he made some statements about a financial plan. And I won’t go into details on the lengthy emails, just snippets that are pertinent. Try to keep up.

When I first read your email I took it as “everyone lay your w-2s on the table and we’ll mock you for the way you spend your meager pittance.” 🙂 When I re-read it, I realized you were talking about “how much will it cost me to go to the reunion and what is my savings plan going to be to get there.” That set a little better with me. 🙂

Reading is fundamental 🙂 (and, yes, he did highlight it in red.) You are not the only one that read it that way so maybe I could have phrased it better … that would take too much time though. be sure to look through your original email for little nuggets I will deposit below 🙂 Love you lots.

Me (two emails later):
OK… Sorry…the whole “reading” thing has reared its ugly head again. I just now realized that you left “little nuggets” in my original email. It’s truly amazing that our family gets anything accomplished since I believe we all listen as well as we read!


Hmmmm. Maybe I can add this to my “things I’ve learned” list. I’ve learned that I really do not listen well. I need to figure out how to fix that. Because I’m also a Ms. Fix It, but that’s a whole new conversation.


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