It’s beginning to look a lot like. . .dysfunctional families fighting and perfectly loving families fighting and strangers fighting. . .I mean Xmas. LOL There are decorations everywhere, all the commercials remind us that we should be flying, driving or taking a train to see our family all over the place. Nevermind if your family is scattered everywhere around the world, sick or financially strapped – you all better be together on the SACRED day of togetherness – December 25! I joke but the pressure is on for many families. Good thing my family is tiny.
I have two living blood relatives in the US. One is my beautiful, intelligent, funny, cute, amazing, superhero younger sister who luckily lives only 30 minutes from me. That was just pure luck – we did not plan it. For over 40 years we have managed to have very few disagreements because I am an open book and talk too much and she is willing to share most things but will keep a lot to herself and I do not pry. It works out just fine. If she has plans on my birthday, I do not pout or make a scene. She makes time for me another day and we are good. She has a demanding career and I try to work around her schedule. We are not perfect but we communicate. With both our parents gone we are closer than ever I think, without being all up in each other’s faces.
The other blood relative is a newly discovered brother who had been put up for adoption as an infant by my mother. I am happy to call him brother although we have not met in person yet. He and I have emailed, texted, called and video chatted. I do not know what our relationship will be like but I do not feel compelled to take a plane to see him on this holiday nor does he. He is 8 years older than me and has established his family there. I am happy to get to know him and I believe he feels the same. I can tell he is a very active, busy person who loves God and baseball so it remains to be seen how well we will get along in the future. =)
All extended family members in my life stay in contact with me via digital means and they are all content to live their lives. I get no pressure from anyone to come see them or vice versa. So, I guess I love my family “differently” than what media portrays and I like it fine. As I watch people I love struggle while they are trying to please so many members of their family, I hurt for them. They truly are dealing with a lot of emotions.
On the outside it just looks like Aunt Sue is selfish or Uncle Arnold is stupid or Grammy Gina only can think about herself. On the inside every one of those people are trying to cope with what they believe is the way family SHOULD be. If they are from the US they have grown up being bombarded every year of their lives that GOOD families all sit together at the SAME time at the dinner table. The food is abundant and perfectly prepared and hot. Everyone takes turns talking and sharing the tidbits in their lives. Then, everyone helps with the cleanup and there are board games or more talking after eating where older kids help younger kids and younger kids love to cuddle with adults. The dog obeys and the cat kindly leaves everyone alone.
Then they really crank it up for the holidays. Never mind the Jewish, Muslim and any other non Christian population – CHRISTmas is for EVERYONE. You see soldiers miraculously come home just in time for Christmas dinner even if there is a war going on. The sick people in hospitals heal just in time to carve the turkey/ham. There is never a catastrophic tornado, earthquake or anyone being kicked out of homes. Everyone is so freaking happy. THAT is a lot to live up to. No wonder people are bickering and being disappointed.
I was hoping while everyone was on lockdown they learned what was REALLY important. That ANY time spent together ANY time of the year is a gift. It’s okay to ask your loved ones to come see you. If they say no – accept it and make other plans. LOVE everyone enough to give them choices and stop being angry because they believe differently than you. You can be a great family who love each other even if you don’t eat at the same table or celebrate the same holiday in the same way. I am not an expert. I do not claim to know all the answers. All I can say is that my family loves “differently” and it works for us.