Today is our last day of having our beloved children here. I use “beloved” in both a real and a slightly sarcastic sense.
We love them beyond measure and their visits, especially en masse, enliven our day-to-day routine with their youth, late-night stamina, ideas, opinions, and of course decibel level.
They also destroy our day-to-day routine and make the predictable completely unpredictable. Meal times, arrival times, departure times, event participation times are all blown away subject of the vagaries of several adult individuals and 2 small children.
Our brood ranges in age from 28 to 36 and most are forming holiday traditions of their own, as they acquire significant others, spouses, and children.
It’s madness. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, perhaps the “decibel” part.
Right now, we’re in an “all-in, all-out” phase: Everyone is here for either Thanksgiving or Christmas and no one is here for the other holiday.
We treasure these alternate-year mass gatherings because we know that, just as they’ve dwindled from being all together for both late-year family events, someday or some year it could change again to their being here for neither.
Or we might be together but not here, not at our home.
Happy as all of us are to be together, it’s disrupting them for them, too. They’re away from home in another place they also call home, more restricted in their movements, splitting time with us for time with old friends and blended families as well as having less privacy and time for themselves. They’re also having to live in someone else’s space, using borrowed transportation.
So, it’s stressful for all of us in different ways but stress that we welcome (as much as we can welcome stress) because that stress is the price of admission to family reunions and the the joy of being together.
We put up with the hassles because they are part of the package of family holidays. Some must also undergo the additional stress of travel with its unpredictability and probable inconveniences.
We all deal with it in our own ways. Some read or watch TV, others bury their attention in technology, escaping temporarily while being the in the same room. Some retreat to a nap and others bustle around cleaning up or preparing for the next meal.
I’m the least social of anyone in the family so my habit is to physically remove myself to another part of the house for awhile.
And later today, when the last children depart for their homes, Laura and I will breathe a sigh of relief, revel in the peace and silence for a day or so before missing this noisy pack and looking forward to our next gathering.
We are so very blessed.