My expectations about family visits have evolved over the years. No longer do I fret about whether it'll be pleasant. Or if the past gets dredged up ad nauseum. I used to get so caught up in the "stories". And the emotions that found their way to the surface as a result of those "stories".
I don't know precisely when these stories stopped bothering me. Maybe it's when I realized they only bothered me because I was the one creating the backdrop for such in-the-past gatherings by expecting a crappy outcome in the first place.
Maybe where I was along my own healing path made a difference. But no matter what, I have definitely changed what I think. Consciously.
That's not to say that when my family gets together we never talk about the past. Or the aftermath. We still do. But I don't judge it anymore. I simply go into our gatherings with the expectation that we're going to have a wonderful time. No matter what.
And this is the case with my visit with my sister and brother-in-law right now.
It's been a joyful bonding experience, fueled with fits of laughter and amusement in our quirks. I can honestly say that during this visit I've been falling in love with my sister more and more each and every day she is here. What an unexpectedly lovely time we've had.
I am blessed. And I sincerely hope the same for you and yours. No matter what.