Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I want to quit fire family dinners on Sunday nights. For one thing, I'm super busy. Between work, other work, school, sisters, Josh and home, carving out four or five hours each Sunday evening is a big deal. For another, if I'm not busy, I'd rather spend the time with Josh. We get so little waking time together.

Also, the purpose was to make us feel like we were still part of them, it was a connection to Topher. But at this point, it's been so many years that we've heard all their Topher stories by now. We know of all the silly things girls did to flirt with him, all the prank jokes Topher played on the guys and the pranks they played on him. We know all the times he did something heroic to help or save someone.

Plus, it's plainly obvious we're an obligation to them. Well that's maybe not fair. Most, not all. There have been signs for years that we're an oversight. I bought stamps and the three of us sat and made Christmas cards for all our fire families. We mailed them out exactly three weeks before Christmas. It's now like a week after, and we got two mailed back (one addressed to Daniel). There have been times we've been served leftovers, and times we've been served a defrosted casserole. We never say anything besides thank you, but it makes my heart sink each time. Sometimes we're having conversations and it's clear they're not listening. Three years ago I asked to get a tour of Randall's Island and it hasn't happened.

I just ... don't want to bother anymore. The majority of them seem so put out. The thing is this is so .... unofficial, so slapped together a decade ago when everything was raw that there's no method for extraction. How do you walk away from a favor without calling people out on being bitter for providing that favor?

There are some people I want to stay in touch with. The people who call me when they'll be in the city to see if we can meet up. The ones who insisted on Josh coming to dinner so they could meet and inspect him. The ones who taught me what it means to deep condition your hair, to take two aspirin before getting waxed. The ones who call during the week to find out how something went that was mentioned at Sunday's dinner. So yeah, I want to quit dinners.


Alisha said...

I don't think it would be at all inappropriate or ungrateful-sounding at this point if you were to call whoever at the station organized this, or even the individual families themselves to whom you no longer want to go, and thank them for their years of kindness but tell them that your lives are just so full and busy now that these gatherings are no longer necessary, and your family needs to spend time on other things. The people you want to keep in touch with, you will -- so maybe you'll end up having a dinner of this sort once a month or so instead of every week, and they'll be heartfelt invitations instead of obligations.

Anonymous said...

I think that sending a letter to each family (as cumbersome as that might be) and thanking them sincerely for their years of commitment to you and your sisters, mentioning specifically what you got out of the experience of being with them, and telling them that they've played a role in bringing you to the point of no longer needing this weekly event.. would be very appropriate and wouldn't seem at all bitter or out of place.

Further, you might decide to throw an open house one afternoon, inviting all of the fire families to stop by your place for some cider or something. Some would come and some wouldn't, but it would be a nice way of saluting the families and letting them see for themselves that you're doing okay. (Or maybe you don't want them all up in your business.. but it's just a thought.)

Kizz said...

I was thinking along the lines of what Anon said. A letter going out that thanks everyone for their help over the last decade and telling them that you feel it's a good time for the tradition to be celebrated and put to rest. Then an open house to kind of kick off the new era. I'm willing to bet that mostly the people you want to quit anyway won't show up to your house and not matter what it's always easier to start a new era with a little (potluck even) bang. I hope you can get this sorted out soon because it sounds like you need it.

Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

ditto...you could write a letter thanking them for the part they've played in your lives, or you could show up at the next dinner with flowers/bottle of wine and say thank you in person. You can make it about you being too busy, not them being an oversight--you really appreciate their efforts while you were younger, and while you needed to be around people who remembered Topher then, you don't need it now (or at least not on a weekly basis).

Its ok to move on. Express gratitude for a part of your life you've outgrown, and let the favor-giver off the hook. They would probably be happy to know that you appreciated their efforts but also happy to be not responsible any longer.

I also think that having everyone over to your place as a final farewell party could also be a nice touch (with an aside to the people that you still want to keep in touch with.) Call it a graduation party. Thanks to all your help we are ok now and are moving on to the next phase of our lives.

Anonymous said...

also - it's been 10 years.. so that's a good time to mark the era and move on!

Yankee, Transferred said...

Yes. Letters and an invite to a get-together, and then you can move on. It was so helpful, I know. And they care...but they will all understand.

You write so well-you will do a great job with the letters. Good luck.

Mizasiwa said...

I think a letter would be more difficult than talking to them in person (not sure but here in SA we dont write actual letters anymore) so I think a call and perhaps an invitation to your place for a final goodbye may be the perfect tone and touch to end this time of your lives.