Holidays on Eggshells – Recap
The Family that Wiis Together Stays Together
It’s taken me a few days to decompress after the holiday trip now that I’m back in Providence (where it is so NOT 83 degrees, like it was in FL on Christmas). I’ve felt a whole range of emotions while reflecting on the six days spent in the womb of my childhood, where I was treated like a child and probably acted like one at times, too.
Yes, there were fights and misunderstandings and clashes of liberal vs. conservative viewpoints and heaping helpings of guilt pie. My brother, who got in a knock-down drag-out fight with my sister at Thanksgiving about Glenn Beck, tried to pick the shit with me about Anthony Bourdain. Seriously? What’s not to love? But apparently my brother thinks he’s a liberal, arrogant, toe rag. And my spoiled nephew threw the gifts that he didn’t like at us (my mother got the book “The Story of Santa Claus” hurled at her head), and I still detect the chip on my SILs shoulder, albeit a smaller one.
All that aside, a Rockwellian scene unfolded at my parents’ house from the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 25. And do you know what the glue was that held us together? A Wii. Yep, nothing like a shiny object to serve as a welcome distraction and social lubricant. My parents have it at the house for my nephew, and one of his Christmas gifts was the London 2012 Olympics Wii game. I have never laughed so hard watching my brother try to do the rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming routines. (My mother, by the way, is very proficient at the sharpshooting game. Scarily so.) My father didn’t play; instead he videotaped the hoopla for prosperity’s sake, as we were ALL in the same room… and not choking one another. (I told him if it ended up on FB, America’s Funniest Home Videos or YouTube that there would be hell to pay). We”re just not a “videotaping” family. It was bizarre, but strangely nice.
I think in those moments, I realized that you don’t choose your family, so you’ve got to work with the hand you’ve been dealt. I know my parents love me in their own special way, and sometimes they have difficulty expressing it in a way that meets my expectations. I know my sister Elise is one of my best friends and has my back, always. And I know that although I feel a bit estranged from my brother and other sister, it’s up to me to open the door to better communication. (If I wait around for them to initiate it, it may never happen.)
Aside from my family getting along without killing each other this Christmas, the most wonderful, tear-inducing gift I received was a framed picture from my dad (see below). This image gave me a much-needed slap on the side of the head about what’s important (even frustrating family members) and how brief (and brilliant, if we make it so) our time is on this earth.
That’s me with my Grandpa Turkey and Grandma in Myrtle Beach. I was probably 3. How I loved those two; worshiped them, in fact. And even though they’re both gone, I miss them every day. I was one of the last people to see my grandfather alive and healthy. When I was 13, I took a solo trip to upstate NY for a post-Christmas visit with my grandparents. He died suddenly 12 weeks later. This image sparked a thought in my head: to this day, I feel lucky to have spent time with him, unbeknownst then that it would be for the very last time (sometimes it’s better not knowing). And even though my family puts the “dys” in “dysfunction,” life is brief and nothing is guaranteed. I will not take for granted the gift of the time I had with parents and siblings this Christmas season (and, of course, the funny blog posts they inspired.)
This image also makes me look at myself as a happy little girl, surrounded by two beloved people. I wonder what happened to her, and if she saw then what she sees now, how her life could’ve been different. After this very depressing year, I want to capture that inner light and happiness and as I said above, make this brief time on earth brilliant. I know my grandparents would be proud of me.
And on that sort of sobering note, I’m off to write a funnier, more jovial post about my wild and wacky 2011 — and my non-resolutions for 2012. For those of you who have been following my Holidays on Eggshells posts, Anna is signing off now. Perhaps she’ll reappear for “Fourth of July Fireworks” or “Labor Day Lunacy.”