I will admit to falling short in my duties as a family representative at my brother’s wedding last month and I’m willing to bet my husband won’t this month at his brother’s wedding.
Living far from family, means we can’t always make life’s big milestones. I would like nothing more to be in attendance for the birth of a new family member, the graduation of our niece, the marriage of a brother, or the funeral of a grandparent. I’d love to make the family camping trip every year rather than every fourth.
But living across the miles, sometimes mean hard choices and a lot of the times it means sending in a representative.
We have resigned ourselves to sending a family representative to long-distance family functions. It’s not ideal but sometimes, it is simply the best we can do.
Yes, a representative. One family member, which for now has always been myself or my husband with varying numbers of kids in tow. Sometimes the kid(s) are left behind with a parent, sometimes a spouse are left behind.
The tasks of the representatives are vast. They are tasked with the job of connecting with our long-distance relatives; which for us means all of relatives are long-distance.
Essential (and Exhausting) tasks of the family representative
- Committing every SINGLE conversation to memory as to share it at a later date. Jet-lag, late-nights and alcohol do not excuse the representative from their duties.
- Photographing every SINGLE family member in attendance. Preferably several times over and in varying degree’s of smiles and hugs. I’m looking for face shots, people! I have a family calendar to create.
- Being involved in every SINGLE activity that the family decides to participate in. Yes, that may mean endless children’s sporting events or hours sitting in a hard kitchen chair sipping water while visiting.
- You to make it to every SINGLE family members home, place of work or favorite watering hole. Be forewarned that without fail, this will result in 1. tears or 2. the flu.
- The representative will make time for the 6am coffee AND the 2am last call at aforementioned watering hole.
- Retell EVERY facet of life, including those already posted to social media, of the family members not in attendance.
- Fun WILL BE had at a rate directly proportional to the number of family members one is representing.
It’s a tall order. No doubt.
Why do we send a representative? Mostly, it’s the cost of the airline tickets. Sometimes, it the timing of said event. Sometimes, it’s the lack of vacation time by one family member. I don’t see any end to our system of sending a representative.
I look forward to the kids being old enough to be sent as our representative. I look forward to the kids developing and creating connections without the hover of parents and with the sometimes, questionable influence of aunts, uncles and cousins.
As you can easily imagine committing every conversation to memory doesn’t happen nor does smiling face shots of every family member. There is a loss of our collective bonding as a larger family unit by sending a representative.
It’s one less family member that will be able to tell tall tales in later years.
But sending a representative is us keeping family connected across the miles.