I don't think I have talked much here about my family structure, but I think it will be helpful overall in understanding some of the complications.
I have three genetic siblings, and we all have the same mother and father: AJ (26), Alex (23), and Sarah (20).
AJ got married last year, so now I have a sister-in-law: Amanda.
My parents are now both re-married: Aaron (my Dad) and his wife Noel; Lisa (my Mom) and her husband David.
Noel has two children: Catrina (20), and Dominic (17).
And that's just the immediate family.
Each of my parents has 5 siblings. They all have children. I have more than 30 first cousins. Three of them are named Michael. All of my grandparents are currently living (although some are in poor health at the moment). There has also been some tension amongst some extended family members on both sides of the family.
Also, Chris and I live in the same geographical area as my parents and all of my siblings (save one who lives in Ireland).
So that is where we begin...before we even add in my sister-in-law's family who lives close and Chris' family (who live far away).
I know this isn't a particularly exciting post, but I think for some it may lend some ease for understanding why, for us, this whole this is complicated when considering who gets an invitation. To wit, there is one family member who I would choose not to invite, but I must balance that desire with the uproar that would almost surely occur if I were to snub said individual.
Don't get me wrong, I love my family dearly. My siblings are the best in the world and they crack me up all the time. My family, as a whole, yearns to be loving and supportive and good. I am thankful in a million ways for their help and support.
This fact, however, does not stop them from - at times - making missteps or simply doing things that bother me. Same for me; as well-intentioned as I am, I can be obnoxious or do the wrong thing regarding their desires or needs.
More than anything, though, I am thankful for them and their support in general. I am also thankful, specifically, for the love and support they have shown for me and Chris as we continue planning; I know that they are genuinely glad for me, and that makes the frustrations easier to manage.