That Time of Year
I come from a family of eleven. There's my mom and dad, married 36 years, then their 9 children, ranging in age from 35 to 16. We're all biological siblings, we look like each other, like our parents, like our grandparents, and also have a few strange noses, toes and fingers thrown in the mix. We argue, love, squabble, laugh, cry, and sulk in silence like each other. There's a friend for every situation, and an enemy for the same. There's book smart and common sense smart. There's big hearts for family, and big hearts for friends. That's what you get when you have a big family.
2011 has not been easy on us. With the recession happening, we've been hit hard - plus a few other things thrown into the mix make for a very stressful Christmas season. We have a wedding to throw on the 27th, the first semester of college for two of us to finish (or in this case, have finished). There's high school musicals, madrigals, homework lost, jobs taking up more and more time, overtime, new people moving in, another wedding to plan for next summer, and on top of that all, the swinging emotions of each and every one of the 11 (+1) in the household. (That +1 is my soon to be brother-in-law, Chuckie, who I do not envy for having to step into this mess.)
Then last September, a major car accident was thrown into the mix. I lost my job, my car, and my independence. Suddenly I was not only injured, but injured badly enough that I couldn't work until released from the doctors. Unfortunately, the bills do not stop coming. So I've been horrifically dependent on my family in an already stressful season.
You can see why this holiday things might be seeming a little blue around here.
So when I start feeling blue, I remind myself of what this is supposed to be about.
- I'm alive. I finished my first semester back to school, and I finished it strongly - making just one B out of a series of A's that I was told I might not be able to remember enough to get.
- My sister is getting married and leaving to move several states away. It'll be a beautiful wedding, and I got to spend an entire semester getting to know her again before she goes away.
- The house is decorated, the smells are wonderful, there's a constant flurry of friends and family drifting in and out of the house.
All this is basically to say - the bills will eventually get paid, the car eventually replaced, the stress of these last final weeks will eventually fade. I'll gain a new brother for Christmas, start a new semester in January uninjured and ready to learn. My future is bright - no matter how the present may feel. But the best feeling of all? In spite of all the hurtful words, the pain of loss, the stressful anger outbursts - I'm safe in the knowledge that my family will always be my family. They may be living far away, or as close as under my roof, but for my lifetime, and theirs, they are all mine.
That's a Christmas gift I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world.