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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Advent Blog: Day 7~ Families

Family. The people you are supposed to spend time with, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, holidays often bring out the worst in a lot of families. Perhaps it is the stress of all other holiday activities-- baking, cleaning, decorating, entertaining, wearing tacky Xmas attire given to you by family members whose feelings you do not want to hurt... Or maybe it is just the added pressure that holidays are SUPPOSED to be centered around family, and so you do so much trying to make it "perfect" that things get screwed up.

This is extra tricky for those of us who are from divorced families. Am I right? Can I get an AMEN?

Once, before my mom passed away, my grandma got kind of P-O'd @ me. She was mad because I was sticking with the same holiday schedule I had followed for years: Christmas Eve with dad & fam, Christmas day with Mom & fam. She jumped my ass-- "You need to spend time with your mom! It's Christmas!" I'm sure she was not thinking that there would be an equally emphatic message coming from the other side, in support of my dad. I must say, she (I'm sure unintentionally) made me feel AWFUL! Not Holly Jolly. Not full of the Christmas spirit-- unless the spirit makes you nauseous. It was my cousin (also a child of divorce) that came to my defense and actually stood up to Gma...

Tonight I saw the movie Four Christmases. It deals with this whole issue. Reese and Vince lied to their families @ Christmas for 3 years-- taking trips to exotic locations so to avoid the family stress. "You can't spell families without lies." Of course they get stuck in town and thus have to travel from family to family-- 4 in all, as they are also children of divorce. Needless to say, while suffering through the holidays, they come to understand and appreciate the idea of family.

Yes, it is a pain in the ass to hop from family to family at Christmas. Yes, it is stressful. Yes, it would be easier to sit at home and let those that want to, come to me. (Unfortunately I think that only works when you are married and have back-up when imposing your demands)...

But in the end, after all the gifts are unwrapped and all the pies have been eaten, it's worth it. To spend time with the people that love you unconditionally-- no matter what crazy stuff you have done in your life-- or how badly you have screwed up during the previous year-- it's nice to be accepted, because during the holiday there is lots of forgiveness and spiritual realization-- no matter how bad things are, we still have each other. And the stress melts away as you bask in the warm glow of love...

or perhaps that is the lies in families...

I kid, I kid... No matter the craziness or the stress... or the cross-country travelling... I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming holidays surrounded by family. Try to take a few minutes to just take it all in... they may not be quiet, fire-moments like in the movies... but absorb it, reflect on it... the laughter, the shouting, the madness that is families.

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