It's been two years since we've gotten together with my husband's extended family.
That will change this weekend, when we gather to celebrate the 70th birthday of a sister, who is visiting from Florida, and catch up with his brother and sister-in-law, who are visiting from Texas.
My husband is the youngest of six children, many of whom have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If previous years are any indication, about 75 relatives will show up for the annual Memorial Day weekend reunion.
We'll gather in a sprawling central Indiana backyard complete with a small lake. The potluck will be overflowing with deviled eggs, pasta salads, baked beans and fruit desserts to complement the beef brisket, hamburgers and hot dogs.
You'd think we'd be looking forward to the gathering. Normally, you'd be right, but it's complicated this year.
A lot has happened in the world since the last time we met: The COVID-19 pandemic. The murder of George Floyd. The Capitol insurrection by Trump supporters.
And because we're Facebook friends with most of those relatives, we've had a steady, distressing dose of their political views on those topics. In some cases, they are views my husband and I strenuously disagree with.
What's more, some of those relatives strongly disagree with each other.
I don't suppose any of us has dramatically changed our political views over the last two years. It was just much easier when we suspected each other's leanings but didn't know for sure.
Now, we wonder whether the Black Lives Matter supporters and the Blue Lives Matter advocates will end up fighting – at least verbally – until all of them are both black and blue.