Monday, December 19, 2011

Five gooolden rings...and some birds

Playing catchup on this 12 days of Christmas thing...

Two turtle doves
It took me until I was about 10 years old to really figure out my mother's side of the family. Let's see if you can follow. My grandfather married E, and they had my mother and 2 aunts. They got divorced, and he married T, who had 2 boys from a previous marriage. T's ex-husband died when the boys were young. T died of cancer when I was almost 2, and a few years later my grandfather married B, who has 2 sons and 1 daughter. T's son's remained close to my grandfather, and grew close to his new wife because they really had no other family. So that makes 3 aunts, four uncles, plus their spouses and children who I'd see every year at Christmas. My grandfather also had a lot of family friends, some of whom I thought were actual relatives for a long time. He was the ultimate "love makes a family" kind of guy, and brought people in the way others bring in stray cats. His house was always bustling the week of Christmas, full of food, wine, children running everywhere. It was perfect. Christmas 2010 was the last time I saw my grandfather, he died in late January. This giant Brady Bunch family is all I've ever known. Because she was part of my life since I was 3, I have always considered B to be my grandmother, and not just a step-grandmother. But since the loss of my grandfather, my mother and her sisters have shown just how fragile some of these bonds can be. They suddenly have very little patience for their stepmother. Although we'll all be getting together this Christmas, it's uncertain if the tradition will live on. The people of my parent's generation seem to be leaning towards holidays with immediate family only. Fortunately, there is some glimmer of hope in my generation. This is the family we've always known, and we're not going to let it go easily.

Three French Hens
Elizabeth has been a student for nearly all of our time together. We met in college. She took a year off after graduation, and then started work on her PhD. This means that money has always been tight, but we've tried to do one vacation together a year. The vacations have come to a temporary halt though, as we spent all of our free funds on fertility treatment, and then a house. I miss being able to get away, but of course I would not trade what I have now for anything. I'm really looking forward to taking them places someday soon. Although I've never really liked theme parks, I can't wait for the day we can surprise them with a trip to Disney. Yeah, I've totally bought into those commercials.

Four calling birds
Oh Christmas cards! We are late late late getting our cards out this year. First, we thought it would be fun to take pictures picking out the tree. The kids thought it would be more fun to run around all of the trees. We got a lot of pictures of the back of heads. Then, we thought we'd try Santa at the mall. We actually got to the mall too early, and Santa wasn't there yet. There were no signs indicating when he'd be in, and the kids were starting to lose their patience so we left. As a last resort, we pulled two candy canes off the tree and plopped the kids down on the stairs and let them try candy for the first time. Here's one of the shots that made the cut.

Five golden rings
The kids have shown very little interest in stuffed animals. They have no favorite blankies or anything like that. Earlier this month, we went to a TJ Maxx to find some things to make our new house look a bit more festive. Bean pulled a stuffed (moose? reindeer?) off the shelf, and has suddenly become quite attached to it. Unfortunately, right next to "Made in China" the tag on his butt says "decoration only, THIS IS NOT A TOY" Not sure how to handle this one.


anofferingoflove said...

awwwww! i love the picture!!

Isa said...

Candy cane faces are awesome! We're a stray-collecting family, too. I always like to go to Christmas and see which new church members, neighbors, or friends of friends have been recruited to join the family. Sometimes they go and sometimes they stay for years, but it always makes it more fun than just immediate family only. Good luck keeping your whole family together, even if there's no blood shared.

Strawberry said...

Time to start looking for a replacement moose/reindeer ;) Love the picture!

Anonymous said...