Just so you know, with a huge family like mine keeping track is impossible. WE can barely keep track.
So my favorite holiday is here. No not Christmas, but the 23rd, Christmas caroling and the family is going to arrive any minute. My feet hurt and I'm pretty tired, I now know why I had such a hard time enjoying my family all those years. The first in the door are Ashley and her brother Will, followed closely by Sister Julie, her three adult girls and Allie. Hugs are dispensed and excuses made for those who couldn't make it. Now a family friend or three arrive. Good more voices, I am the only soprano this year...dang, I am in good voice though so I'll just do my best. Because there are so many of us, we don't exchange gifts. However this year is an exception and so we make great ceremony about Ashley and Wills ipads, Tears, hugs and lots of Ooo;s and Ahh's are uttered while looking at the valued loot. Suddenly My Niece announces she is pregnant. Upstaging my announcement utterly. I heave a big sigh and say that I have an announcement too...I have been accepted into Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Silence and then conversation starts again. I guess that is as much as I can expect, after all nothing has changed right? A twinge of hurt, but nothing I'm not long used to really. So I chat with the youngsters, admire the technological mother lode of the siblings and eat. The conversation is centered around teaching and after about an hour of the teachery talk, Allie takes pictures and I float into my Sis's room where the fun is going on. Tony and Ashley are video chatting and making silly faces, my nephew is showing video from youtube of his band performing. His voice is amazing. I'm asked over and over why we planned the ipad joint gifts and I explain many times how these two have no privacy and have been long overlooked in the family. Do they realize they are the one who have over looked these two fine kids? Doubtful at best. Nothing is said to me about my Gigantic news. Now we all go to one house to carol. It is much too cold to go out normally. We sing, go inside, chat and break into small groups to sing duets and now and then I softly harmonize. Mostly I just enjoy my brothers fine strong tenor voice and his long camaraderie with his friend Danny. They sing Cat Stephens and James Taylor and the acoustics in this house are a thing of beauty. I feel full and strong. Memories of skulking around corners and listening to them sing as preteens sweeps through me and leaves me feeling grateful for having this loving man as a friend and brother. We start to flow towards the door with calls of Merry Christmas. Back at the house, as people start to leave my sister steps out of the hallway and makes me jump. She says congratulations and wishes me luck...this is the first time she has talked to me in 4 years. I say thank you and apologize for past issues and we hug. I now have no feuds with anyone in my family for the first time in 40 years. Thank you God.