Saturday, April 23, 2011

Home for the Holidays!

It`s beginning to feel a lot like Easter,
Every where I go,
There are chocolates and bunnies, 
Eggs to get and spend more money,
And people getting stuck in the snow!
The snow!

At moments like this I miss my family and friends. The excitement of gathering together, fixing large meals, last minute grocery shopping, making sure we have 7-Up for Dad, a couple of brands of beer, red and white wine and fresh baking for the guests. Having a few glasses of wine while I prepare the meal and not feeding my family all day as we await the big meal. Telling the girls, enough chocolate! You won`t eat any dinner! Getting the regular OH MOM! And Len saying ``Well, if you don`t need anything I will come back in awhile to help.`` Then him getting so absorbed in what he is doing he arrives to change just as the guests arrive.

Those moments of anticipation and anxiety as I wait for our grandson Charlie to arrive. His mom and dad happily bringing him up the walk. Wondering if he just woke up and will make strange or if it has been too long and he doesn`t remember Nana and Grandpa?

The friends we have invited because they are alone and have no one to spend the day with, joining us apprehensively but still happy to spend a holiday with someone and enjoy the crazy family dynamics that for once are not their problem. The friend can simply laugh as I stress about pleasing Len`s family, or worry that my Mom will enjoy things or my concern that my Dad might not be comfortable, my frustration that my kids might misbehave, the tension as someone says the completely wrong thing that we all promised we wouldn`t talk about. Yes, as insane as a family gathering can be, I miss it!

The angst of squeezing everyone in at the dining room table, finding enough chairs to make it all the way round, pushing to get that last plate on. Hoping that everything will be ready on time, turkey cooked right, potatoes soft enough, gravy not too salty, enough food and variety to please my family and guests. Then finding a space to put the food once it`s been passed round, quickly washing up the forks again for dessert, putting the coffee and tea on as our distended yet happy bellies relax from a big meal. As well as the discreet burping and farting that people are trying to act like they didn`t hear.

The Easter Egg hunt for the kids - carefully hiding the eggs age appropriately and dividing them up into bags so that everyone gets the same amount in the end. Making sure Dad and Len are comfy on their selected ends of the sofa as they slowly drift off into a light nap in the warm and busy room. The women (of course!) cleaning up, shushing the children away while we try to get things done and finally sitting down to relax with nothing left to do. Mom telling me the meal was wonderful, but have I ever thought about doing the turkey her way instead ? Or perhaps my stuffing wouldn`t be so dry if I put it in the bird .... ? Yes Mom, I love you, but that is how I do it and I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Watching and moving things around the house so whoever happened to be the toddler this year wouldn`t hurt themselves or break anything. Moving things up and up and ``Down from the sofa, name here, you don`t want to fall out the window!`` Introducing opposite personalities together, my family, Len`s family, our friends and some young children. Watching the interactions, listening in case I have to intervene if things get too political or environmental or directed to a particular religion. Yes the joys of the big family gatherings and the need to be the moderator and help things flow so that everyone has a good time. Wanting to enjoy the situation amidst the worry that someone might offend someone else and trying to keep calm since my nerves are a tad frazzled from the preparation and not wanting to blow up if someone close to me says the wrong thing.

Keeping my eyes on the guest who perhaps likes to have a few too many drinks, make sure they don`t get to ``lushy`` and don`t drive home drunk. Moving back and forth through the group to let the crowd visit. This blog is not satirical or facetious, it happens, every holiday, with almost every family. We can`t wait to get them there and then can`t wait for them to leave. YES I MISS IT!

Christmas in Fosterville was nice, this Easter is fine, it just all seems a bit too laid back. Stress to some extent is necessary in our lives. There is good stress and bad stress. I see this holiday group interactive relationships are actually good stress. Why? Well... they remind us of why we don`t live together all the time; they remind us that we maybe take some things way too seriously; our mother is really only trying to offer her thoughts and not criticize even though it feels like it; some days soon I will be the mother that my kids roll their eyes about and think I am interfering; and the woman still usually does all the work! 

We moved here on our own volition over 6,000 km from our families. We placed ourselves in this self-imposed exile. Some day soon it will only be Len, Jessica and I when Rachel moves out and is having too much with her friends to return to New Brunswick. Then even Jessica will be gone and Len and I will look across the table. Maybe we will have a lobster for dinner then instead of the big meal? I hear people do that. Or perhaps I will make a special goat cheese salad? I suppose the upside of that is I won`t have to buy Easter chocolate, which I always want to eat and no one will complain because I bought the Cadbury`s Easter Creme Egg instead of the Cadbury`s Caramel Creme Egg...                               
Geez! Mom! Can`t you get it right?

Have a great Easter Sunday, whether you be at church, at dinner or just out in the sun!
 (Or snow if you are here in Fosterville!)

By the way, I am still trying to decide what to make for Easter dinner...
Ham with the fixings or perhaps a nice cheese omelet!

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