Family Friendly

Well, the buzz of Christmas cheer (or maybe it’s just my Christmas bender) is finally beginning to fade. The splitting headache brought on by drinking far too many beers and not nearly enough water is quickly becoming the perpetual headache of family. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family and all that stuff, but well, it’s just a lot to take in. Or maybe I’m just too timid for this family? I know the idea of me being shy seems like a foreign concept. In fact, it even is for me, but lo and behold, if anybody can send me retreating into myself like a turtle, it’s this lot.

After all, who wouldn’t be? With the overstimulated mother, the aunt who hasn’t met a passive aggressive comment that she didn’t like, and the constantly changing familial landscape. Yes, to say that these past few years have been some… uncomfortable Christmases doesn’t really capture it. In fact, I’ve avoided them (by spending Christmas with a family full of Mexicans) like the plague since the parents split. Don’t worry folks, this isn’t turning into a tale of “woe is me” and “mommy and daddy didn’t love me enough”, it’s pretty much always been a little weird for me to spend time with my family when the mantra is “If you say it loudest, then you must be right.”

So this Christmas (and the following days) have been a little weird, but this Christmas was supposed to be different. Well, it is different, but here I go again, getting ahead of myself. This is the season where I’d be celebrating with the family… well, the new family. That’s right, what’s Christmas without the awkward and obligatory meeting members of your “other” family? Ya know the one where your mom left your dad for another man and that whole thing.

Thankfully, the awkwardness was kept at a minimum… probably because I kept the liquor at the maximum, but let’s not over analyze that one. But my “step-brother”, who I really just call by his name considering that “step-brother” is such a weird qualifier, is one of the bearable ones. Sure, it’s odd meeting new family on Christmas day, a day characterized by family togetherness, not family introductions, but I think it worked out just fine.

In fact, the whole thing has pretty much brought family to the forefront for me. Remember when I started this by saying I was “I can take it or leave it” kinda guy when it comes to family time? Yeah, it may seem like I’ve done a complete 180, but the sentiment remains pretty much the same, but my family doesn’t let you forget about them very easily. But I guess what I have to say (or at least what I’ve been thinking about) is pretty universal…

The way I see it, families change. Relationships evolve… or deteriorate. I guess that’s pretty much up to you, but the fact of the matter is that “family” is constantly being re-defined. There’s no one way to have a family and as I look around as we all hide behind our glowing computer screens, it’s become quite clear that ours might be pretty unorthodox, but it’s a work in progress. After all, whose life isn’t?


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