Three days after Christmas and I’ve spent the day recovering from the ordeal on the couch, napping, watching the last of the Tivo-ed Christmas specials, and simply trying out life as a slug. I could get used to this, but alas, I don’t believe my family would appreciate the new me. So tomorrow I will finally take the puppy for a walk (Sorry Murph!), shower (one day without one and my head is beginning to itch), and I will prepare for another set of visitors.
We’ve had family from northeastern Massachusetts, the Connecticut coast, nearby Pittsfield, and up next … family from New Hampshire (as long as my uncle can get off his couch). The reprieve, unfortunately, from work, chores and holiday festivities was involuntary — he pulled his back out prior to Christimas, and has been in quite a bit of pain. His trip was delayed for a couple of days, due to the old-age injury, and tomorrow our house will once again be buzzing with activity upon his arrival with wife, kids and dog in tow.
I love the constant motion of the holidays. The excitement of getting the tree, making Christmas cookies, and purchasing presents for all those on my list, though I’m not a big fan of shopping in general. I love tracking Santa on Norad and hearing the kids sneak down the stairs sometime after midnight on Christmas Eve to check out their loot. Christmas (and Thanksgiving) are two of the few times we spend in perpetual motion with family, and when listening to the cousins giggle, play and conspire to get the parents to stay “just one more night” it reinforces the importance of family, and maintaining close ties.
I had a great time with everyone. I actually shared a beer with my cousins who were in diapers when I was whooping it up in college, and we shared memories of those days when one of them used to make cookies and visit me in my dorm room, mixed in with their own 20-something adventures as one enters the second semester of his junior year and the other tries to figure out what life he would like to lead now that he has graduated from UMASS. It was fantastic fun. My uncle began the evening with his signature sarcasm which I’ve missed, his wife filled me in on a lot that has going on in her life that I only knew parts of and it made me wish I was there to support her more. Our visit left me realizing how much I missed my cousins, and wishing I knew both of them a little better. Something I plan to correct.
Christmas and family visitors also brought about other types of Christmas fun.
My kids enjoyed playing imaginative games outside in their pajamas, and having Nerf wars with their Connecticut cousins in the basement … and I enjoyed relaxing with family, over more cocktails than usual, and relaxing conversation. I learned that my grandmother had taken a trip to Hawaii nearly 50 years ago, and she gave me the ring that has stood as a symbol of her adventure all those years ago. And I’m sure I will have just as much fun (and alcohol) with my uncle and his family (with kids the same age as my children) tomorrow. But all this family, and entertaining and telling stories, makes me pensive.
Maybe it’s the blogging. Or maybe it’s the fact that this Christmas was spent without in-laws who couldn’t make it North this year due to health reasons, or maybe it’s because this Christmas that it was spent knowing that my quirky grandfather who died a few days earlier at his home in Nantucket wouldn’t be making his twice yearly trips to the western part of the state, that had me revisiting my relationships with and feelings about family.
Whatever it is … I’ve made a few resolutions intended to strengthen my relationships with family members and friends in the upcoming year. Something I’ve claimed to hold important in the past, but haven’t taken the necessary actions to nurture these relationships the way I should.
Resolution #1. Reach out to family members more through handwritten notes, e-mails, or by simply picking up the phone more often than I have in the past just to say “hi.”
#2. I intend to travel more to visit family members as most of our connections take place at our home-base in the town where we live and most of us have grown-up.
#3. Accept family members for who they are and not mourn or berate the fact they aren’t always who you want or need them to be, but love them just the same.
There’s probably more, and for those reading this, you are probably bored out of your mind with this little bit of intuitive writing and sentimentality, but it is the holidays after all. May we eat, drink, visit with friends and family, and re-evaluate our relationships with them all … and then nurture the holiday hangovers (both alcohol- and emotionally- induced) it gives us.
By the way, did I mention that I also love when everyone goes home, and our menu no longer consists of appetizers and alcohol, and we can return to our somewhat normal schedule of daily events? Murphy will get his daily walks again. I will return to writing and blogging. The kids will head back to school, and my husbands work day will begin much earlier than 9 a.m. and “cocktail hour” will only be enjoyed in between trucking the kids around town to various sporting events and it will include a much smaller consumption of alcohol than in the past weeks. But in someways this crazy, nonstop schedule will be welcomed back into our lives and will be a thankful reprieve from entertaining.