It's Christmas Eve, and I have just a few more items to get for family. I'll get the kids roused up, and we'll head out to the stores in hopes of finding what is on a wish list without too much crabby.
When Steve comes home from the office, we'll start making dinner. Nothing too fancy, just the fish course from a couple of nights ago, and maybe whip up something else from what we already have. Finding inspiration in the cupboard instead of the cookbooks makes for a few less trips to Wegmans. This is when true creativity comes around.
I had a lovely conversation with my hair stylist yesterday about growing from "kid" to "adult" in a family. She was wondering what it would take for her family to listen to her opinions as an adult, and not a child of 24 years old. She told me that her grandma is still the center of the family Christmas gathering. When all her aunts, uncles and cousins gather, she is still "shushed" by her mom - the same way she was as a child.
I wondered when I was invited to share my opinions in family discussions. I remember needing attention, and how the older ones were annoyed by that. But I don't remember any particular moment when I was suddenly invited to the "grown up" table. Before I got married, my family Christmases were filled with siblings, and my mom's sister's family coming to our house. We opened all our presents and ate lots of food. The evening ended with the Midnight Mass at St. Mark's.
Steve's family did something similar; Crazy, loud, traditional, food filled merriment. And yes, a wee bit of cheer in clinking glasses. Only a few regular eyeball rolling statements that invited a political opinion dangerously close to turning the family gathering into an awkward conversation. The standard reaction was to ignore the poke by either quickly changing the subject:
1. How about those Packers?
2. What are you studying in school these days?
3. How's work?
4. Got any projects you are working on lately?
5. Can I get you something from the kitchen?
Our little family unit, living far away in a modest home in the little town of Bethlehem, PA will make our food, listen to Christmas music, eat a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Go to evening mass at Holy Infancy (I need to prepare some thought distractions if the music is what I think it will be) and maybe pull up a holiday movie for some snuggling. We'll send the kids off to bed and wait for Santa. In the morning, we'll open presents, make more food. Eat a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Maybe a visit from a friend.
I'll take the dog on a couple of walks. I'll miss my mom, all of my siblings. I'll end up staring at a candle flame and have a silent conversation with my Dad. Then I'll just look at my kids and my darling husband and know that I'm blessed.