Is this title the title of another song?
Every year at this time families get together to enjoy traditions set in place years ago. As children. Or even as far back as when their parents or grandparents were children.
When we were growing up our ‘tradition’ was that we went to bed because you know Santa Claus is not going to come to your house if you’re awake. Right? Not to mention our parents couldn’t have their Christmas Eve party with all of us kids hanging about. But I’m sure we went to bed mostly to make sure Santa would show up.
We were torn between sneaking downstairs to the party and getting party food vs. making sure we did what we had to to make Santa’s arrival a sure thing. We usually tried to make the youngest go get something because that one was too cute to get in trouble. Santa wouldn’t blame them. We’d all be safe. Who would have thought little kids would go crazy for the little dark loaves of rye bread with cream cheese?
Then around midnight or 2:00 a.m. our parents got us up to come downstairs because Santa had come!! Woooo Hooooooooo!
Fast forward a couple of decades.
Since I first married I always made sure to see both parents at Christmas. No biggie. But I was the first, of 8, to marry. There were no grandchildren to worry about making sure they had their own Christmas morning wake ups at their own homes. Yet.
Now- all 8 are married and have families, who have other families, who have big other families.
Every year around Thanksgiving someone has to bite the bullet and send out the email that broaches the subject of when we, as a family unit, will try to assemble one and all at the exact same time, in the exact same location, to celebrate Christmas.
So our family tradition starts, every year, at Thanksgiving.
With email hell.
Roughly 5,307 emails fly back and forth trying to get 8x8x8x8x8 infinity to get a date, place and time set. Not to mention the menu.
No one is pleased with the process. No one is willing to make it easy. No one is willing to do this in any simple manner.
And if they did? What in the world would become of our family tradition?
Anyone else can do the same old thing every year. Year in and year out. Anyone can do that and be fine with it.
We, however, do not fit the ‘same old same old‘ mold. No, we don’t.
Why would we want to?
Fighting with 7 other siblings about something kind of keeps us in our youth. That’s right! How many grow up, get sedate, meet for dinner and gifts and go home? How many I ask! Borrrrrriiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnng!
With us our holiday lasts much much longer. From Thanksgiving (and God forbid even before Thanksgiving) until Christmas we are connected through emails, texts, phone calls and I am sure a sneaky clandestine face to face meeting or two. Where someone is trying to sway someone else to the date they want or the house they won’t have to clean for the get together!
For well over a month we get to (remember dad’s philosophy about church: you don’t have to go you get to go) fight with one another about this. Just like when we were kids and we got to fight because we have 7 siblings.
And remember mom’s philosophy: kids you will never have better friends than your brothers and sisters. So of course we want to spend the holidays together. Right? I mean… Right!
So, during this family tradition (and I dare anyone to argue it is not a tradition) we will bond again as the young people we were when we fought over every thing. To now, we just get to fight over when, where and what time we will meet for Christmas.
Everyone can pretend they don’t get a bit of a kick out of this. But we must for the tradition continues.
And really? I don’t mind. They don’t scare me. And every year? It works out.
And aren’t there those who might just be wishing they had siblings like us to fight with? Who find it wonderful that so many of us want to make sure to work it out so we do have this important time together.
Yes. So on ward with the fighting.