November 25, 2015 by The_Shy_Shooter

Author: Melody Beattie

Author: Melody Beattie

Me – Who am I?

It’s that time of year again. Family time! But, where’s my family? Everywhere… but here. Not a single family member of mine resides within the state I call home. Instead, they are hundreds to thousands of miles away, some even in different countries. So when it comes time for big family gatherings, there are none.

The last one I recall was back in the late 1980’s, but because of how young I was, I don’t honestly know what a big family get-together feels like. I’m not complaining. I simply miss what I’ve never had, but what so many others do.

Those others however, often feel the complete opposite. They are overwhelmed with family, seemingly never able to escape them. They crave time away from the constant drop-ins and invitations.

Then, when the holidays roll around it’s even worse. Joy is replaced with stress, usually weeks before the big day itself. Who’s going to host the dinner? Who will bring what? Who’s going to be there? Where on earth are we going to get enough tables and chairs for that many people?

It’s a mess. A crazy and wild day, filled with flour covered aprons and heads dripping with sweat. But, it’s also a day filled with love, laughter and fun. A time of family. A time where wonderful and hilarious memories are made.

Or, at least that’s how I imagine it to be.

This is a conversation my mother and I were having yesterday. It seems that we always want what others have. We, my mother and I, would love a large family get-together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or any big family gathering for that matter. That would be a dream come true, especially for her.

For others however, they would love nothing else but to escape to a secluded place, far from family or anyone else who could contact them.

If you could have it your way this holiday season, what would you prefer?

A big family gathering or a quiet dinner with your spouse and children? Or, would you rather say “forget it” and head off to a secluded location far away from it all?

The Shy Shooter’s Response:
LOVE IT ALL~EVERY WHICH WAY! Due to the times we live in our blood-line family is on the other coast. We have a minute contingent of blood-relatives where we live but they are not of the traditional big fam~big meal hussle and bussle as I. We have had the crazy & quiet gatherings. Even when it is just the spouse & child I like the crazy cooking marathon of the 12 dish Thanksgiving and special dishes at Christmas. So for Thanksgiving~I like to be the O.I.C.
Christmas is another story…as a child we had big Polish family gatherings. The unspoken rules: you show up, eat, drink & socialize even when the biggest  hurtful feelings are present. Those feelings got put aside for those couple sacred days, then back to the normal seething emotions. But you partake in the family Oplatek tradition. Sadly~being so far away and the wonderful Polish and Irish generation that was my connection to the old countries have past and its a struggle to keep any type of tradition. Last year I finally had it. I invited all of our Framily & blood-family that live near us (all 3 of them), of course many have thier families close by, but the invite was put out there and those that were home came, it was a beautiful moderate crowd spanning generations.
Being proud of my heritage and getting over the awkwardness of explaing the tradition no one had heard of before, and letting go of the maybe embarrassment the spouse may have been feeling, (which maybe not but knowing they didn’t have that growing up, my deep down self felt maybe they would prefer I not try to start & share my tradition or mention it) BUT it was a received well and I realized Thanksgiving but especially Christmas are very special times of the year to relive our best childhood memories~in a new way…Thats my 2 cents…


  1. reocochran says:

    Your holiday sounds like you achieved what type you wanted. We have in my family only 3 cousins, Mom had one sister who had husband and 3 daughters. Dad had no siblings. My one brother never had kids, other one married woman with 3. Only once in a great while did we have 6 kids running around at our holidays. Now, my grown children have 7 children, at last friends and family become chaos and I am happy! 🙂

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