Well, no; it's not a row. It's just that there's a decision to be made by the extended family (six living members) and there are eleven opinions on what that decision should be (because five out the six are married or have partners). Inevitably there is conflict and equally inevitably, brothers have fallen out with sisters, nieces with uncles (or at least, aunts by marriage) and there is a whole lot of dissonance going on.
But everyone honestly wants the best for everyone. It's just that they have different ideas of what that best is and how it should be achieved.
And who is in the middle of it all? Who is still talking to everybody? To whom is everyone involved pouring their heart out to?
Yes, that would be me. (Sigh)
My job, at which I seem (reluctantly) to be good at, is listening to everybody, validating their concerns and then (diplomatically) presenting eleven different points of view to eleven different people in eleven different ways. Quite frankly, it's been exhausting.
Apparently it's all the fault of having a sun sign of Taurus with Sagittarius rising and a moon sign of Libra: I can see both sides of the story. Even when it's a dodecahedron story. And no – I don't understand all this astrological stuff either.
But at last we seem to be getting somewhere: we have a way forward. And everyone has been listened to; everyone feels that their opinion is valued and, even if their preferred actions are not being taken, they understand the thinking, reasons and logic behind the decision.
Which, in turn means I can invite them all to the family gathering just after Christmas.
Oh, I know full well there will still be tensions; a couple of cousins won't be speaking over something that happened last Christmas (and when I find myself thinking "how petty" I have to remind myself that I have not experienced that particular injury/backlash, so I don't know how it feels) but hopefully I can still get all eleven adults (plus six children and two hangers on) round one dining table in a spirit of reconciliation and harmony.
It's an ambitious project, but I remind myself that the family was exceptionally harmonious before the death of its head (my uncle), in July 2013. It can and will be harmonious again.
It might just take a tanker full of oil to pour on the troubled waters though, and, just at the moment, I'm fresh out of Fry-Light!
But I draw a deep breath and remind myself of Stephen Covey's first principal: "Begin with the end in mind." Quite frankly, I don't care what the family decision is, I just want a united family and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to get my united family back.
Even if I have to see, show and tell eleven different sides of the same story.
A Moodscope member.