Monday, February 19, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Family Day (bah humbug...)

You might think I would be grateful for a long weekend in February -- and I am (and I most certainly was, when I was working).  But unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving, Canada Day, St. Patrick's Day, or just about any other statutory or "Hallmark" holiday (outside of Mother's & Father's Days), there is nothing about Family Day that I really enjoy or look forward to.

I've written (ranted?) about Family Day, and why it bugs me so much, every year for 10 (!) years now, since it was first implemented in Ontario in 2008.  (  My primary objection is certainly not to having a long weekend during the dreary days of February (who could object to that, right??), but rather the fact that it's a completely made-up holiday, slapped with a "family-friendly" label by politicians hoping to score political points -- conveniently ignoring that the warm & fuzzy name they chose excludes those of us who don't fit the definition of a traditional family. I would have much preferred something that gave at least a perfunctory nod to Canadian history & heritage, as the U.S. does with Presidents Day, or as my home province of Manitoba does (today is also a holiday there -- not Family Day but Louis Riel Day, which honours an important -- albeit controversial -- Manitoban and Metis leader from the 1870s & 1880s).  Perhaps an official Flag Day?  (February 15, 1965, was the day the now-iconic red & white maple leaf flag was adopted as the official flag of Canada.)

This year's Family Day weekend (thus far) has included one reminder after another of why I dislike it so heartily.  First, the days leading up to the long weekend have been full of media reminders about what's open and what's closed, and about the special activities being offered (many of them free or discounted) to promote quality family time -- fun things that parents and kids can do together. Now, sure, dh & I could lace up our skates (if we had any...!) and take to the ice for the "family skate" at a nearby arena sponsored by a local politician (for example) -- but (a) we hate crowds, (b) do we really want or need to be confronted with yet another reminder about the family we didn't get to have ourselves? and (c) we've heard too many stories about suspicious parents giving stink-eye (or even calling the police!!) when adults without kids start hanging around THEIR kids at parks, etc.

Second, most schools hereabouts also had Friday off (for teacher inservices/Professional Development Day/Professional Administration Day/whatever you call it in your area).  This means the streets, parking lots, malls, stores, movie theatres, restaurants and community centres have been crawling with hordes of parents & kids for not just one day, not just two or three (= the usual three-day holiday weekend), but FOUR WHOLE DAYS.

Dh & I have been doing our best to stay close to home and avoid the mobs -- and having lots of Olympics to watch on TV helps ;)  -- but four days is a long time to play couch potato;  sometimes, you've got to get out of the house. ;)  We usually go out for dinner on Saturday nights -- early (as in 4:30-5:00 p.m.), to avoid the crowds (which can be big, even on non-long weekends), but we knew most places were going to be insane no matter when or where we went.  I suggested we just go out for burgers at our favourite fast-food gourmet burger place -- in & out, quick and easy (right??). We asked BIL & SIL if they wanted to join us. They did -- but by the time we picked them up and got to the burger place, it was well past 5:30.

The burger place is directly across a vast parking lot from the local mega-cineplex (19 screens).  Saturday nights are pretty busy there at the best of times -- and not only was it Family Day weekend, but (we'd forgotten) it was also the opening weekend for the much-anticipated and extremely well-reviewed superhero movie, "Black Panther."

The place was PACKED.

By some miracle, there was one empty table for four right at the very back. It was freezing cold (we had to keep our jackets on), but slightly less noisy than the main seating area.  Dh & BIL saved our seats while SIL & I placed our orders & then returned to the table, waiting for our numbers to be called. The time on my receipt was 5:50 p.m., and we overheard the clerk tell another client that it would be at least a 10-minute wait for their food. It seemed to be taking a lot longer than that, though, and it was at least half an hour before SIL's number was finally called.

We expected to be next -- but they skipped over our number & called the next one. And another one after that.

"WTF??" said dh, taking our receipt & heading to the order counter. There is nothing that he hates more than someone who arrived after us getting served first... and that goes double when it comes to food...!  ;)

It turns out they had LOST OUR ORDER.  It was at least another 15 minutes before we finally got our food (long after BIL & SIL had finished theirs).

Family Day... bah humbug...

P.S.  Thanks to The NotMom for their recent post about Family Day!

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  


  1. I have been thinking about this issue of exclusion when it comes to Moms Demand Action (against gun violence). I believe in their message, but a dear friend (who wants to have kids but is currently single and childless in her mid-30s) mentioned how she feels excluded by the group. Why can’t ANYONE want to end gun violence, even if they don’t have children? Aunts? Friends? Neighbors? And honestly, the name drives me bonkers, too. I see quite a few men at meetings, and mostly older people actually. But the exclusive name doesn’t seem to do anyone any favors, and I wish they’d open each meeting with a statement affirming that all humans are welcome.

    1. Yep! :p I have seen a few comments on Twitter this weekend -- people who object to the name get reminded they have a family of origin even if they don't have kids... well, yes, but some of us live too far away to spend time with our families of origin today. Some members of our family of origin are busy with their own families today. Some people don't get along with their families of origin. It can be complicated...!

  2. I can see how Family Day would be annoying in many respects... something to do with Canadian history & heritage would certainly be more inclusive. I admit these 'family'-designated occasions do make me feel churlish and cranky. And why not - they offer me nothing. And your lost order - the icing on the cake!

  3. Yes, it would be infuriating. My solution is to plan to get out of the country next year for Family Day.

    I have a question. If you went for dinner at 7 or 8 pm, would it be full of families? In NZ, any restaurant that's open at 6 pm or earlier would be full of families, but that would stop around 7 or so.

    1. Good question! We've rarely eaten dinner out that late (lol), so it's hard to know for sure, but I suspect the crowds would not be quite so bad & there would be more adults vs kids.

  4. This sounds terribly annoying! Especially given that people are calling the police on people that don’t fit into the definition of “family.” I understand being leary of someone who is acting suspiciously, but an older couple does not qualify in that department!

    I’m so sorry it’s been a rough weekend. :(

    1. Read this post, and then read the comments -- in particular the ones from Marci and (especially!) from Foxglove!

  5. That does sound annoying! I too have a dislike for these made-up holidays that get overly commercialised, everyone fighting to get a piece of the straw. Wishing you a more peaceful weekend this time. :)

  6. Oh no, insult to injury with your lost order! How annoying. I am eternally grateful that we don't have a Family Day in addition to Mother's Day and Father's Day. It seems somehow even LESS inclusive, because although you could celebrate your own mother or father for their days it's upsetting to be left out for yourself, but Family Day just seems like "Have a family? This is for YOU! Don't have a family bigger than two? Well then NO FOOD FOR YOU!" I hear you on the taking advantage of special offers and things as the two of you, and then fearing being seen as "childless weirdos" frequenting children's areas. There's sort of no winning here. I hope you have better days ahead! One more in the books, gone.