Today’s post will be brief, because today was our “family Christmas” observance, being the only day that everybody could realistically get together at my parents’ place. “Everybody” being three brothers, one sister, parents, and myself + spouses & kids for a couple of the above. In addition, my youngest brother came with his girlfriend, who it turns out is his fiancee as of Wednesday (this is both unsurprising and surprising, for complicated reasons; when Mom, who is bad at keeping secrets, said “Amanda has something on her hand,” my first reaction was, “Did she get a tattoo?”) Middle brother also brought his relatively new girlfriend, who held up impressively against a barrage of well-meaning but confusing questions (there was a nice stretch that could have been scripted by Saturday Night Live writers when people kept sitting beside her at the table and asking exactly the same question that she had just answered). I heard her tell him, “Oh no problem, it will be much worse when you meet my dad,” which is about the right spirit necessary to deal with this family.

There are a lot of us, and we talk a lot (anybody who spends time with the lot of us tells me they “see where I get it from”); the meme at the dinner table was “THAT would be a great idea for a podcast,” though youngest brother stuck to his assertion that a lot of people would be interested in downloading readings of relevant Wikipedia articles.” I assured him that if he’s ever seen a biopic, the scene where his family makes fun of him would be followed up by his idea becoming a smashing success, so he just has to make it work now.

Gift exchanges happened, and I feel like I got the right present for everybody, which is nice. I also got the Born to Run deluxe edition and Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera which deserves a testimonial for the power of the Amazon Wish List. (Though I think the siblings who got the vouchers for ‘one night of free baby-sitting’ from youngest brother and his fiancee were most appreciative. I live too far away from the people with kids, don’t you know, so I gave people CD’s and hopefully it’s all even.)

Family holiday times have tended to blur together over the past few years, and that feels like a good thing. It means we’re all here and things are going reasonably well, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Also, I still have a week to go until actual Christmas, so it’s nice to let that holiday cheer spread out for a while.

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