The key, he said, is having built-in solutions for all the different personality types involved. Find tasks to give the bossy family members something to control. Put in place a discreet buddy system to keep family members who tend to drink too much in check.
No matter how much advance planning you do, chances are something unexpected will jump off at your family reunion this summer. But it’s all about perspective. Go in with a positive outlook and Uncle Junior’s embarrassing outburst might become a cherished funny moment that you and your second cousins once removed can laugh over for years to come.
And in between the drama and buffet tables with five kinds of potato salad (none of them particularly good), you are sure to hear a few priceless nuggets of family history, those facts that help you better understand your family’s history—and, ultimately, better understand yourself.
So stop fretting. Just pay the registration fee, send your updated information to the family historian and get with your people!
Ingrid Sturgis teaches New Media at Howard University.