Houses today will be filled with Grandmothers, Mothers, Daughters, Mothers-in-laws, Daughter-in-laws and if we are lucky enough a few Great Grandmother’s to boot, Grandfathers, Fathers, Sons, Father-in-laws, Sons-in-laws and again if we are lucky enough a few Great Grandfather’s to boot. We will sprinkle in some Aunts and Uncles, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews and some of us will add a dash of family friends. Our houses will fill to the brim with the aroma of delicious holiday meals wafting from the kitchen (or take out containers as it may be). The air will be filled with Holiday music, wrapping paper ripping, the occasional shrieking of a melting down two-year-old, the whining of a teenager who has been disconnected from the world at large by not being allowed to use their phone and the wailsome cry of the family cook as something that was supposed to be delicious was turned to ash by a momentary distraction caused by the first two issues. Eyes will be rolling liberally in their sockets as older attendees tell someone the same story again because they forgot who all they have told, as parents ask teenagers to disengage from their phones and family couch surfers are asked to help set the table. Squabbles over the temp of the meat will ensue in the kitchen and family rooms with be full of yelling at the football game. Dinner tables will become the hotbed of discussions not allowed as a general rule in mixed company and if you are in the Allen household are always sure to devolve to the point of potty humor. You are guaranteed one hurt feeling in each age group as someone wasn’t able to be the pink ranger, someone gave someone a gift that clearly was from a discount rack with dust still on the shoulders or a joint gift was labeled with the wrong person’s name first on the card.
We spend countless hours getting ready for this one-day event. We shop until we drop, stress over each and every gift, wrap until our fingers bleed, travel absurd distances for the pleasure, stress over our attire lest we be judged harshly by that one fashionista that every family has and lecture our children and spouses on their expected behavior for fear of being “that” family member again this year.
But in spite of all the craziness and chaos, every year we fling open the doors of our homes and our hearts. In return for our efforts we receive heartfelt hugs from family members near and far. Laughter fills our hearts as we are regaled with the silly childhood stories of movies made and terrifying sledding adventures from years past. We enjoy the memories of family members no longer with us and suck in the sweet new human smells from the family members who are just now joining us. Our houses are filled with the wonderful unique sound that only our family can create.
From my house to yours—May the love you get today from your family and friends fill your heart to overflowing and last you for the whole year to come.