Why was she anxious?
Family time meant time to unwind, to let her world of worries and perfection fade into the background in favor of making memories and reliving old ones. It was always her favorite time, her one chance of revisiting who she was at her core, underneath all of that daily stress. It decompressed her, let her breathe, refreshed her. Yet here she was, standing at the back door of her car, hand paused over the handle as she let a wave of anxiety wash over her.
Perhaps it had something to do with the very sobering realization that they were all growing apart. In the past, arranging cute little family events was a breeze. Over time they'd become less and less frequent, until now-- until this was the first event in a year that she'd convinced them all to come to, Teddy included. Aside from typical extended family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, they just hadn't bothered nor had the time. With age they were finding this bond less and less necessary; they were growing to understand more people other than just their crew and that had Melanie understandably terrified.
This family was still all she had. They were still her only way of decompressing, her only friends. Yet suddenly their presence all at once meant anxiety now, something she was afraid would persist. Was this growing up? Growing apart? People had always warned her this would happen.
The sound of approaching footsteps had her jumping, not exactly jarring her out of her thought process, but certainly pressing her to act. She opened the car door and feigned excitement, gathering the first arm full of supplies and turning to smile at the first cousin who came to help. "Here, take-- well, whatever you can gather, I guess."
She eyed the trunk of her vehicle, where she'd laid down the seats in the back to accommodate for even more junk. Even if family time typically reduced her anxiety, being over prepared had always been a thing. Tents, boxes of activities, food-- you name it, she had it.