Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In Which We Find My 1,000th Post

Often times in life we are disappointed because experiences fail to live up to the expectations that we have built up for how things should be in our minds. We plan for discussions, or events, or even quiet evenings at home, running through our minds how they will play out and that carries over in the form of expectations, real or perceived. Then, because life is life, and things never go how we hope or even how we plan for them, we are left feeling disappointed and out of sorts. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it so hard to just set the stage for events to happen, and then to just enjoy whatever the results of it might be? I think we set ourselves up for failure, and I know that time and time again I am guilty of this.

I've given this a lot of thought over the past few days. On Saturday we celebrated Uncle Christmas, which, if you are new here, is when all my brothers and any of their significant others come over and we celebrate Christmas. Sometimes, if he is up from Florida, my Dad comes with my Grampa. This event started many, many years ago when my Dad and step-mother were moving away and I took pity on my brothers not having any way to celebrate Christmas together. My kids were little and confused because they thought it was Christmas, so for a while I kept saying, "No, it's Christmas with your Uncles".. and they started calling it Uncle Christmas. I've hosted it every year since then, except for last year when we had it at my brother Scott's house so that my Grampa could make it after being in the hospital.

This years gathering involved a lot of stress and arguing amongst the family. We had a problem getting a date picked. We had a huge, ugly debate over the gift exchange. It got to the point where, after the year that I had, I was ready to call the whole thing off. The only thing that saved it was the kids. I wanted to do it for them, at least one more year. I'm not sure what's going on with Corey's college schedule next year, so it's a real possibility that this may have been our last one (shh, don't tell them). On top of that, I wanted to make sure that I could pull off a g.f. Uncle Christmas menu and have it work without complaints. Mission accomplished, and I took notes on a few things I will change for next year, if there is one. Aside from that, it was just weird this year. The whole atmosphere of it was different, and I don't know if we've just outgrown it, or there was too much drama involved or what, but when it was all said and done, I was glad when everyone left and it was over. That made me sad and I'm not sure what to think about it. Even my brother Brian noticed and said something about it before he left.

I noticed that Christmas Eve at The Boys™ had a similar kind of feel to it as well. It was nice to see my nieces, although I didn't get to see them for very long because we got there late, and they had to leave for church within 2 hours of our arrival. In that time, they had to eat, and open gifts and it just seemed rushed and crazy. I don't know if it's because the rest of the family gets to be together again for the rest of the evening, and we are only there for several hours in the afternoon... but that hasn't changed for at last 5 or 6 years now. It was just... different. It didn't seem very festive, or maybe it was just me. The thing is, I didn't have any expectations for how that would go. I just showed up, grateful that we were all going to be together. It was just weird, and I don't know what to think about that either. On top of that, we got back too late to go to Christmas Eve mass, which I hated, though we did have a very lovely dinner and evening together here at home. So there's that.

Christmas day, however, was really nice. I had no expectations for it at all. I tried a new recipe for this year, after the french toast wasn't that big of a hit last year. A g.f. Monkey Bread, which had almost all of the same ingredients as my cinnamon rolls, that turned out fantastic and everyone loved. I think it will be a new tradition. We opened gifts, the boy and I went to church, where my favorite of our three rotating priests said mass and sang to us during the homily, had a late lunch, and then we all went to see Les Miserables. We came home, had a late dinner and just hung out. It was a nice, quiet day and I enjoyed every minute of it. Part of me wonders, if it's because there was no drama involved with us at home (what a nice change, eh?). That because we've have so much of it this year, that being around other people on the other occasions, and having to deal with their issues, and listen to the complaining and problems and such, was just too much for me to deal with. I didn't want drama this year, because really, I've had enough of my own. I guess I just wanted to get together with the people I love and hang out and enjoy each other. I'm so pleased to discover that I found that right here, at home.

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