They don't mean to get on your nerves.
They don't even mean to be your family, they just are."
Thank goodness as siblings we all seem to grow closer with every passing year -- it gives us an adult reward for all those crazy growing up together years (plus e-mail helps a lot). I wish I could have given my kids five brothers & sisters to lean on in later life; but I just wasn't that resourceful. They'll have to make do with each other!
Brian Andreas (www.storypeople.com) has some funny advice for making it through the long weekend:
"We stood out on the porch before we went inside
& she told me her secret.
Pretend you're just visiting, she said.
That way you'll forget that they're family."
And Hugh Prather has an even funnier idea: If the family gathering starts getting too stressful just pretend that you are a volunteer for the outpatient program of a nearby mental institution, and your job is to be nice to all these people who believe they are related to you and treat them kindly whenever they start giving advice or criticizing (The Little Book of Letting Go, 154).
Now you're smiling!