Christmas time is family time. Family time gives me pause to reflect as it seems for me anyways, it's always a bit of a stressful time. Family is a good thing. A wonderful thing in fact, but the reality is that there are very few families where everyone gets along all the time. Even if you discount the married ins, there are families that just can't see eye to eye or even be nice to each other. I'm no innocent in this and have quietly put up with a lot of crap over the years -- and likely I'm sure without even knowing it dealt out some garbage of my own. My normal nature is stand up and take it like a man -- er, woman. Then go home and internalize the death out of it. Stew about for a few more days and finally (hopefully) let it go.
Family dynamics have changed quite a bit for both sides of our families over the past couple years. Some of it has been good and some not so good. My brother spent his second Christmas separated from his wife. Thankfully this year she seemed to realize that we are not going to be one great big happy family. We celebrated with my side earlier than our normal Christmas Day this year and we were all very okay with that. In fact we really enjoyed having just our little family of nine together on Christmas Day. No stress, no mess. Just church in the morning (for some reason those of us of Reformed faith always have church Christmas Day)and a whole day of quiet. Playing games on the Wii, reading books, watching a movie or two. It was a nice positive change.
The Engineer's family has a whole different dynamic to it which I won't even go into. Let's just say it's sometimes not very pretty. There's a lot of pettiness and immaturity from several sides -- including myself on occasion. I won't deny it. This year I enjoyed visiting with a couple of the Engineer's nieces, one of whom I hadn't seen in well over a year. It was fun and interesting to see what she's been up to. She's a very talented and busy young woman. His other niece is due next month with their first baby. Exciting and busy times coming up for them! The day is always a little too short, but the nice thing is that on January 1st a bunch of us will see each other again at the vdG family reunion.
Despite the quirks,quibbles, and stresses of family life. I am still thankful for family -- both home grown and extended.