Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Expectations

Tuesday evening and the gifts have all been bought, the house decorated, and Christmas treats baked. The mall and post office have been braved and conquered. All the things that need to happen for Christmas have been accomplished but soon the hard part begins; the part that includes the expectations (oh-so-many expectations). Gathering at this time of year is as freighted with meaning for families as Valentine’s Day is for lovers.

By that I mean, the expectation that something magical and profoundly different will happen when a group of people related by blood get together at this time of year. So many family members, be it mother, sibling, father, grandparent, spouse put onerous standards of togetherness onto what is usually a brief span of time (not including what you spend in delays at the airport or on the road). The result is frayed nerves, short tempers, and always ALWAYS someone being disappointed or hurt. Either a conversation was left unsaid, a song unsung, a ‘cherished’ activity undone, a photo not taken. It is seldom that reality and expectation connect and that’s why it’s called life. It’s messy and cranky and silly and tired and fun. And it should be enough.

So here’s to the fact that my brothers will continue to call me Beavis and blame me for farting in front of their kids (as if!) when it was them, my mother will stress over every detail of everything, my sisters-in-law will float graciously through the days making nice with everyone (except the snarky one who has the a wicked sense of humor- you know who you are), and my nieces and nephews will make me smile because they’re all almost as tall as I am and so worldly, sweet, and young. I’ll keep smiling, without expectation, and in hopes of deflecting those of people who need something else or something more. This is what we have. This is who we are. Family.

What about you? Do you have expectations for the holidays or do you have to deal with others? Is it a stressful time or relaxed?


Sydney Shop Girl said...

Merry Christmas Catherine!

I hope you and yours have a holiday season filled with warmth, love and the familiar!

SSG xxx

Abby said...

So, so true and I love your perspective. Being calm and rational, content and peaceful--it pisses everyone off. Hopefully this year some of that can rub off on the others. If not, pour yourself another glass, sit back and watch the show.

Happy Holidays, my friend! I'm so grateful to have met you this year.

therhythmmethod said...

God, yes. My MIL wants so much out of Christmas, and a picture to go with each moment. It's hard work managing those expectations. :\

Catherine said...

How wonderful to hear from three of my favorite people in the blogosphere! I hope you all have a peaceful holiday. Barring that- alcohol and pharmaceuticals.

mamawolfe said...

I'm grateful to have my children and nieces and nephews around me during the holidays. They make it all real.

Nancy said...

I feel so blessed my family will travel from Portland to Reno and I'll have them in my house where I will try to find food that appeals to all. Merry Christmas from one messy family to another.

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