The last few days have been crazy.

Friday, we loaded up the car and drove to my parents’ house.

Saturday, we had the family Christmas – 14 people in the house – 6 kids.  It was a day of eating great food.  It was filled with nerf gun fights and games.  It was filled with lots of laughter.  And it was filled with reminders of why, even thought they can drive me crazy, I still love that family.

Let me give you an example.

When I was first married to G, there was a huge family gathering on his mom’s side.  Lots of photos were taken to mark the occasion because it rarely happened.  I was reminded during that time that I was not really family and these were family photos.  I knew families were different – and especially his family.  But damn.  That’s not different but cold.  That was just not how I was raised.

Fast forward to Saturday.  I was taking family photos as a gift to my brothers and their families as well as to my parents.  My parents wanted photos with their grandkids.  After the four grandkids get into the photo for some shots, my dad calls over to my brother’s girlfriend’s kids – “Get in these photos too – you cannot be left out!”  This is my family.  You are in their house – you are in the family.  Period.  No one is left out.

Another example:

Growing up, my mom’s Catholic family would have these huge family gatherings for Christmas.  I am one of like 30 grandkids, but my brothers and I were the only non-Catholic grandkids.  Each Christmas, we were reminded of this time and time again as my cousins got extra gifts from this uncle or that aunt.  There was always a reason why, but no reason that was going to get a kid to understand.  I mean, all you know when you are 6 or 7 is that you are being excluded.

Fast forward to last week as I am getting stuff ready for the Christmas gathering.  I pinged my brother to find out what his girlfriend’s kids are into.  “Don’t worry about it” was his response to me.  Turns out it was his response to our brother too.  Both my brother and I still made sure the kids got something.  When he and I were talking to my brother about it, we explained that no one should feel excluded on a holiday.  If some of the kids are all unwrapping gifts that all of the kids should be unwrapping gifts.  No one is to be excluded especially the kids.  For the record, the kids were happy and, from what I learned, were totally brought out of their shells by being included.  Funny how that works.

Overall it was a good trip even the drive home which took over an hour longer than usual thanks to lots of snow including snow and ice when we got home.

I should be in bed now.  And I was earlier.  The two nights of sleeping like crap combined with some long days and a long drive home took a lot out of me.  A couple of drinks tonight – and I was in bed early.  But now I’m awake thanks to the dog.  The dog is really REALLY happy we are home.

And we are happy to be home.  Good trip, but nice to come back home.

What do you think?

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