The Game Plan

Every year we have an annual family gathering at our home at the base of Mt. Adams. Known affectionately as Rodeo Weekend, it takes place over the Father’s Day weekend, and is anchored by the Glenwood Ketchum Kaff Rodeo. On the professional rodeo circuit, this event is a big deal for our little town, as is this big yearly get-together for our not-so-little family. From the babies to the elders, for three days we all come together and navigate the dynamics du jour including sleeping arrangements, nap schedules, food and drink, KP duty, conversations, relationship patterns, political and personality differences, and deeply shared values and convictions. It is our favorite weekend of the year, we wouldn’t miss it, it just keeps getting better, and, as happens in families, such times have the potential to bring out the best, and of course, the not-so-best in any of us.

Cue the Game Plan.

In professional football, to prepare for each new game a specific plan is created. This game plan serves to leverage strengths, mitigate for known liabilities, protect against injury, and achieve a successful outcome. Along with the right strategies, a good game plan includes ongoing communication, clarification, and adjustment, and when all is said and done, the team comes out stronger, wiser, and more connected. Family gatherings are no different.

Cue the Game Plan.

We all come together carrying with us our strengths and weaknesses, and uniformed in our endearing qualities and irritating quirks. Old dynamics find new circumstances in which to play out, and there is unlimited potential for the deepening or damaging of relationships.

Cue the Game Plan.

This year, along with three new babies and another year full of individual and shared triumphs, trials, and tragedies, into the mix comes Gracie-the-chocolate-labraodoodle. Tom and I only mildly jokingly refer to her as our Therapy Dog because she continues to shine a light on the areas of our relationship that still need tweaking. In order to come out the other side of Rodeo Weekend even more in love than we are now, will require that we up our game even more when it comes to how to handle Gracie in the midst of the wonderful family mayhem. Her challenge is to find her inner-calm when around people and other dogs, but left to her own devices she will whip herself up into a happy-but-hot mess every time. Not a successful outcome. When it comes to helping her in that arena, we don’t always see it quite the same way.

Cue the Game Plan.

We haven’t come up with it yet, but it is in the works, and will mean coming up with a strategy that we agree on in both principle and practice. Easy to say ahead of time, hard to do in real time. Our game plan will serve to leverage our strengths, mitigate for our liabilities, protect our relationship from injury, and achieve a successful outcome. It will take ongoing communication, clarification, and adjustments along the way, and if we play it right, when all is said and done, because of a good game plan, we will come out stronger, wiser, and more connected.

When preparing for a football game or a family gathering, ending up with a successful outcome begins with a good game plan.

Rodeo Weekend 2019?

Game on!

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