E comes from a family of five. I also come from a family of five. Expand that to include spouses and kids and the number more or less doubles or triples. To be exact, there are 14 members in E's family, including ACE. In my family, there are 12 of us, including ACE. Combined, they total 23. E's family all live in this country and this city while only one of my two brothers live here. My parents live in another state.
I'm glad it's only 23 of us altogether. E's family is big on celebrating events. Birthdays, anniversaries, mother's/father's day, baptisms, Easter,Chinese New year, Christmas...14 family members means about least 13 birthday celebrations (we don't celebrate mine with the extended family) and say another 6 other gatherings throughout the year, plus maybe one family holiday together, makes 20 gatherings. This averages out to one gathering every 2.6 weeks in a year, if my math is right. I can't imagine if the family were to be any bigger, how many parties we could be having...
My side of the family is not as gung-ho about celebrations. If we are able to get together for someone's birthday, it's well and good. Otherwise we'll just call and wish them and pass them their present the next time we meet. It's only these past few years, we try harder to celebrate birthdays, mainly for the kids. One of my brothers lives abroad so that more or less brings down the frequency of all-in-the-family gatherings by a large percentage. He and his family returns about once every two years. Even then, sometimes due to work commitments, he or other family members like E or my other brother are not able to join the gathering since we all don't live in the same city.
As for the main festive celebration that my family celebrates, i.e. Chinese New year, it's been rather quiet for many years now since my older bro lives abroad and I'm married 'out' (Chinese tradition requires the woman to celebrate it with the in-laws first and then later with her own family). That leaves my parents having reunion dinner with only one son, daughter-in-law and one grandson.
While it's nice to strengthen family ties with our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, there are times when I wish there's more time for ACE to just spend it by ourselves. The days go by very quickly. Most days, especially weekdays, it's a rush in the early morning to get to work and school. We only wish each other good morning, good bye and hurriedly exchange instructions, reminders or info about our day's schedule. Then I'm alone at home with whatever I need to do. Later after I pick up C from school, it's more verbal exchange about schoolwork, revision, music practice, and going out for extra curricular activities. Then it's dinner with C only, as E returns home much later, only on time (sometimes not) to put C to bed. Then I go to bed, he walks Rusty and watches TV.
Where is the time for us to communicate properly and grow together as a small family of three I wonder....Sometimes I also wonder who I am, a house-wife/mother or just a house-keeper.
I'm only thankful we don't come from families that number in the 50s or 100!