Christmas and family and other deep stuff that came out…


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

…..yes, I know it’s already almost two weeks old.  That’s technically still new, right!?  I mean, if it was a baby, you’d call it new.  If it was a car, you’d certainly still call it new.  So just get over it.  I’m behind!

You should be used to that by now!

Okay, what’s going on around here.  Well, obviously I survived the holidays.  I actually had decent blood sugars all through the special foods and gigantic meals.  Diabetes: 0 – Geannie: 1!  Thank God for that!

We tried to switch things up as far as the timing and place of our various family get-togethers.  It was an attempt on my and the girls’ part to try and free up some time so that no one felt rushed from hurrying between in-laws, out-laws, and other family gatherings.  It didn’t work as planned, but it was still nice.

Corey and Melissa got to come home and we spent time with them.  We spent all of Christmas Eve with all our kids, actually!  The other purpose of moving things around was so that “just us” could have a big block of time to be together.

Here’s the thing… for my entire life, our Christmas morning was always a little rushed.  Sometimes it was a LOT rushed.  When I was little, we went to my mother’s parents, or “Mom and Dad’s” as they were always referred to by me and my sister, on Christmas Eve.  My mom had five siblings, four who had children, so all the cousins (except the 7 who lived in Texas) would be there and it was a huge, rowdy gathering.  That usually lasted until after 9 pm.  Sometimes even later than that, I suppose.

Then on Christmas Day, we were expected to be at Mamaw and Papaw’s, my father’s parents, by 10 am or so.  If we got up at 8 or 9, that meant we got very little time to even see what “Santa” had brought, let alone play with any of it.  We would have a big meal there with my three cousins who were the children of my dad’s only sibling, a brother 10 years his senior.  Obviously, there was a sizable age difference between us cousins that meant we didn’t really “play” together.  It was awkward and sort of uncomfortable many times because of all the tension and in-fighting that had been going on between my dad and my uncle since they were children.

THAT is definitely a story for another day, but let me clarify that this “in-fighting”, which is the only word I can think to use for it, was never actually seen.  It was always kept confined to verbal jabs, “innocent” jokes made over dinner and things of that nature.  You never heard any cross words exactly, but you could certainly feel the seething that everyone tried so hard to ignore.

As a mother of two boys myself, I can understand how Mamaw responded to the whole thing.  She was probably thrilled just to have everyone together under one roof but how she and my papaw could ignore so much anger and bitterness is beyond me.

Again…. all that, with the long, involved backstory, will have to wait for another post.

My point in all this is that never was there a time in my life when Christmas Day, at least the morning, wasn’t a rush to be somewhere else on time.

I hate that!

Even after my boys were born, we were still trying to do this routine PLUS the addition of two more gatherings, one for each set of their grandparents.  Christmas time was exhausting and I don’t want my kids and possible future grand babies to deal with that.

Since Tommy didn’t have any grandparents living near us, we never had to deal with adding his own traditional big family gathering…actually, they had only had Christmas with either set of his grandparents once or twice maybe, so the whole relationship was completely different.  But as my grandparents died off and there was no longer a central place to meet, we first stopped having Christmas Eve at Mom’s.  (that’s my grandmother “Mom”, not my mom-Mom)  There was plenty of tension in that side of the family too and none of the siblings, at least to my knowledge, even tried to recreate the gathering or carry on that tradition.  Each one just formed new traditions with their own immediate family–their children and grandchildren.

On my dad’s side, we continued to gather with Mamaw even after Papaw had passed away until she got too feeble to live on her own and went to the nursing home.  With the way my dad and uncle’s relationship was and the fact that we cousins really didn’t even know each other since all our lives, our main interaction was maybe twice a year if a great-uncle I didn’t know at all got a family reunion together that year.  Honestly.  I see these families that are SO CLOSE and it’s like being on another planet! I think, “Man!  I would have loved to have this sort of family!” and that’s why Tommy and I try SO HARD to make sure we have a time, especially at Christmas, when our boys can be together with their wives and us and EVERYONE just relax and enjoy ourselves.

After a few years of ugliness between my sons when they really didn’t even want to be around each other for various reasons I’ll leave un-delved… they now have a good relationship.  It’s not as close as when they were kids and were each other’s best friend, but it is SO much better than when they were not getting along.

All of it boiled down to hurt feelings and perceptions and assumptions between them.  Seriously!  It grieved my heart beyond imagination because I was seeing it become some sort of generational curse right before my eyes.  I determined that our family would break that pattern of siblings not loving each other right into adulthood.  It happened with my dad and his brother and with me and my sister, in very similar fashion.  With my boys, it was more about the differences of opinion between them, not preferential treatment of one or the other by the parents, that seemed to fuel their rift.

But like I said, the boys get along well now and even though I realize sometimes it’s a little forced for my benefit, I am thankful for it.  I would much rather have them talking, if through gritted teeth, at least trying to appear polite, than not being together at all.  Especially now that Corey has moved to Ohio…spending time with both boys (& their wives, who we consider ours now, too) is extremely important to me and their father.

WOW!  This is not at all where I intended to go with this post, y’all.  Not even close!  But it’s some important stuff and apparently, I needed to get it out.  Maybe there’s someone out there who needs to read it.  Who knows?  I believe that God has a purpose for everything… even my ramblings from time to time.

Blessings!