Easter was surprisingly spectacular. I like to semi-joke that I expect (and plan for) every situation to turn out terribly. Then, when things don't end in third-degree burns and a divorce, I'm pleasantly surprised!
The party was at my parents' place, which is a little less than a mile from our house. So, we walked over early to spend time with the immediate family, and it worked out really nicely. When I arrive somewhere later than the bulk of the other attendees, I end up exhausting myself in the first few minutes because I walk in the door and immediately have to talk to someone, then someone else comes up, then I meet someone else on the way to put down my bag and then three kids run by shrieking and someone else walks up and gives me a bone-crunching bear hug, then this person wants me to know what food is "safe" for me and so on until I've talked to everyone in my family within a 20 minute period. It's really not good for my head. But by arriving early this time, and greeting people as they came, I had a trickle of activity that gradually worked its way up to a dribble and a light flow, instead of the flood that can wash away all my brainpower and energy.
I tried to maintain a relaxed attitude. "I'm just happy to be here," was pretty much my motto of the day, and I think it helped my pain management a great deal. For example, instead of feeling uncomfortable while standing during the obligatory group family shots (like last year), I sat down, and started a trend!
I also had a nice, quiet place to rest, where I could take a few minutes and even medicate if needed. And, oh yes. It was needed. But, I had a blast, really. There was lively conversation and laughter and good food and lots of sugar. And after the party was over, I even walked home. Slowly, and with breaks, but by my own locomotion.
This was the best family event I've had in so long. I was the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. I've been feeling very separate from my family lately, though we all live very close, I don't socialize with any of them much besides the several gatherings we have a year. I feel like I reconnected with them a little, and have reclaimed a niche for myself.